Journalist Charles Watts has claimed that Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah has a big job on his hands amid Gabriel Jesus’ injury.
Jesus was forced off in Brazil’s dead rubber World Cup defeat against Cameroon with pain in his knee.
It was the 25-year-old’s first start of the tournament after previously coming on as a sub in their first two group game wins against Serbia and Switzerland late on.
With the Selecao already confirming qualification and top spot in Group G, Tite decided to rotate his side to keep his key players fit for the knockout stages as he started Gunners pair Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus, but the latter was forced off with a knee injury and leaves Mikel Arteta sweating over his fitness.
With Jesus’ return date unsure it will present Nketiah the chance to step in as Arsenal’s talisman upon the Premier League return, with Watts claiming on his YouTube channel that the 23-year-old has a big job on his hands.
“This is a big, big opportunity for Eddie, we don’t know yet on him [Jesus]. For Eddie whatever happens you’d think he’s definitely going to be starting against West Ham on Boxing Day and you just want to go into that game with your confidence up a little bit.
“So I think if Eddie can get himself a couple of goals in these next few games in Dubai and the one against Juventus, it will be a really big thing for him because he’s got such a big job on his hands.”
TIF Thoughts on Watts’ comments…
This could become Nketiah’s make-or-break moment in North London with the Gunners in pole position to win the first Premier League title since 2004.
The Arsenal academy graduate made good of his chance last season when he was trusted to lead the line, scoring five goals in the last seven games of the season.
His chance looks set to come again, as with Arteta likely to be without Jesus – who has contributed to 12 goals – for the new year, it falls to Nketiah to keep Arsenal’s title bid on track, but his failure to bag in the Premier League this season means it’s a daunting task.