Jamie Redknapp on why Mikel Arteta picks Eddie Nketiah up front over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Eddie Nketiah celebrates scoring for Arsenal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC at St Mary's Stadium on June 25, 2020 in Southampton, England.
Nketiah started through the middle on Thursday night (Picture: Getty)

Jamie Redknapp believes Mikel Arteta is picking Eddie Nketiah ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front for Arsenal because of his impressive workrate and compared the more experienced striker’s struggles to make the centre-forward spot his own to Sergio Aguero under Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, often used to give Gabriel Jesus game time ahead of Aguero in his early days at the Etihad, but while there is still an element of rotation now, it’s clear that Aguero has become the main man once more.

Redknapp believes it took Aguero time to ‘buy into’ Guardiola’s hard-working philosophy, where strikers chase down lost causes.

Arteta, who used to work under Guardiola at City, is in a similar predicament.

With Aubameyang’s future unclear, he has favoured Nketiah through the middle – using the Gabon international in a wide left role.

And Redknapp thinks that Nketiah’s ability to press from the front – which led to his opener against Southampton following an error from goalkeeper Alex McCarthy – has seen him get the nod ahead of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette – who was left on the bench.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates alongside Eddie Nketiah after he scored the opener for Arsenal against Southampton
Aubameyang has been forced out wide (Picture: Getty)

Redknppp told Sky Sports: ‘Work from the front, chase things down… It took a little while for Aguero to buy into it and I don’t know if Aubameyang at this age will be that striker still, especially if he doesn’t want to be at the club and he wants to go.

‘He thinks with Nketiah – he works hard for the team. It’s a midfielder’s dream, it’s a defender’s dream, when someone is just pickpocketing balls around the pitch and winning balls back. It’s fantastic.

‘And he gets his reward. It’s not good goalkeeping, it’s not good from the defender as well.

‘But a lot of strikers would just leave it, they wouldn’t bother chasing lost causes, he did it and deserved that goal for that reason.’

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