The Gunners boss has picked out the role he sees for the 19-year-old striker within his squad, with Folarin Balogun set to extend his stay with Arsenal by signing a new long-term contract
Going into the game against Everton, Arsenal had some serious problems to deal with.
The Gunners’ players arrived at the ground three and a half hours ahead of kick off with the aim of avoiding supporters who had gathered outside the Emirates Stadium to protest against the Kroenkes’ ownership of the club.
With Alexandre Lacazette having strained his hamstring in the draw with Fulham the week prior and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still absent after contracting malaria while on international duty with Gabon, Arsenal were without their two first choice strikers.
To replace him Arteta had several different options. Fans have been desperate to see Gabriel Martinelli in the number nine role, but on the night it was Eddie Nketiah who the Spaniard went for up top.
The 19-year-old is one of the most highly-rated talents currently coming through the Hale End Academy which has produced the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the first team in recent seasons.
By scoring a goal every 32 minutes in the Europa League this season Balogun has stirred up excitement among Arsenal fans who were elated when news emerged that he is set sign a contract extension to stay with the club he has been at since the age of eight, after initially looking like he could leave on a free at the end of this season.
Many expected that this decision would herald the beginning of several first team opportunities for the young striker, who has played just two minutes since December for
But as it stands it seems his role in the squad is as back up to the back up until the first team opportunities come his way.
With an increased squad size allowed for Europa League matches he will likely be involved for the crucial semi-final first leg against Villarreal on Thursday though.
With the futures of Lacazette and Nketiah still up in the air at the moment that may well be an indicator of what’s to come for the 19-year-old next season.