You would be carted off and men in white coats would administer strong drugs if you were to ever say that goals weren’t crucial in football. But… and hear me out here, some goals are more important than others. Likewise, the players who prowl the penalty box in search of the precious commodity are vital… err, well some are more crucial than others.
This is especially the case when you are within the current Arsenal narrative. This argument stems from the fact that so many Gunners fans are getting hot under the collar about the scoring rate of young strike ace Eddie Nketiah. The fledgling marksman, who was turned away by Chelsea and found refuge in the Arsenal ranks as a young teenager, helped himself to two goals in the north London outfit’s 3-0 win over Italian outfit Fiorentina in the International Champions Cup on Unai Emery’s side’s tour of the USA in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It was to be the Arsenal’s third win on the road across the pond and it was Nketiah who managed to bag a goal in the last game, which was a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich. So, here he is, a striker, aged just 20, banging in goals for the Gunners against top opposition…and, frankly, it doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. Because when the business begins in earnest, on the first day of the Premier League campaign when Emery’s men go to Newcastle United, it isn’t an unfair assumption to suggest that Nketiah will be nowhere near the first team squad that assembles at St James’s Park on August 11.
But you’ll find that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette — and very possibly Wilfried Zaha — will be probably the first names on the team sheet for the clash with the Geordies. The point: scoring goals in pre-season friendly matches designed to carry the club’s brand to new global audiences is one thing; hammering them home in top-flight and European encounters is another. That’s not to say that Nketiah isn’t one for the future — naturally gifted, with pace to burn and a nose for goal, he may well make the grade. You just feel that Arsenal under Emery doesn’t have bundles of time to try out different, largely untested players. And if you go by his comments after the game against Fiorentina, you could suggest that big names are on their way, although he does have time for youth. To a point.
Quizzed on the current situation regards incoming talent, Emery said:
“We are waiting. We have very good players — very good young players. Really, I am patient because we want the best solution. Some players are very expensive and we are waiting for this possibility. We don’t want to go to the second line of players. We are aware we need to improve some players in this squad. I want to sign one, two, three or four players — but only if we can be sure they are coming to improve our team. There are a lot of names. The club is working.”
They may be working; impatient fans eager to see new faces at the club would say not hard enough!