Analyzing Eddie Nketiah's mid-season friendly performances
Looking at how Eddie did with a cold analytical eye
The Premier League is back but in the between time Arsenal played some friendlies. One of the main focuses of these friendlies was trying to get an impression of how Eddie Nketiah would potentially be able to handle being thrown into the starting center forward role.
In three matches against varying levels of opponent quality (with varying level of teammate quality as well) my impression was that Eddie looked fine. I understand that others might have a different impression and level of expectation, but from my starting point that he is not as talented as Gabriel Jesus, does similar types of things but doesn’t quite do it as well, I didn’t see anything from these performances or my task of going back and rewatching all of his interactions to change my impressions.
In these three matches, he played 243 minutes (so really way to small to draw meaningful conclusions even setting aside the friendly part). He took 9 shots (3.3 per 90), put one of those on target, and scored 1 goal (that would be good for 0.4 per 90, and also doesn’t count the should-have-been goal against Juventus where I think the offsides call was incorrect) from 1.3 expected goals (0.5 per 90).
It feels like a long time ago now, but this seems to be a well taken goal, even if this was pretty bad defending from Lyon. For a striker, those are perfectly acceptable type numbers. That was backed up with being a decent focal point for the attack, adding 18 touches in the box (6.7 per 90).
Was everything perfect? No, far from it.
I think this screenshot from Wyscout for his best actions playlist for these friendlies just about sums things up. He is what he is and that is why he is the backup player and not a player that Arsenal invested over 20 million pounds a season in with wages and amortized transfer fee (he is about a quarter of that).
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