Eddie Nketiah extinguishes Arsenal goal worries with blistering hat-trick, and promise of more to come

Eddie Nketiah hit a superb hat-trick past Sheffield United (Getty Images)
Eddie Nketiah hit a superb hat-trick past Sheffield United (Getty Images)

There will be far tougher tests ahead for Eddie Nketiah, but if he is to deputise for Gabriel Jesus over the next few weeks, then this was the perfect start.

When Jesus limped off against Sevilla on Tuesday night, it felt like a hammer blow for Arsenal.

After being troubled by injury in the first part of this season, the Brazilian looked back to his best as he inspired the Gunners to victory.

The news he will be out a few weeks was met with frustration, however Arsenal began life without Jesus in style as they brushed aside Sheffield United.

Fittingly, Nketiah was the hero. The striker, who was handed a start in the absence of Jesus, scored a hat-trick inside an hour as Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 win.

The first two were classic poacher goals, with Nketiah finishing well inside the area. The third, however, was a brilliant strike as the England international picked the ball up on the edge of the area, spun, and fired it into the top corner.

Even Jesus, who was sat watching in the stands at Emirates Stadium, stood to applaud that one and it was a mark of the confidence flowing through Nketiah.

He even finished the match wearing the captain’s armband after Bukayo Saka went off and, when dreaming of how this game would go, Nketiah surely can’t have pictured anything as perfect as this.

Jesus is expected to be out until after next month's international break and that means Nketiah could easily start the next four games. There will be sterner tests during that run than this, most notably Newcastle away next week, but this performance means Nketiah should go into it with confidence.

Mikel Arteta has the option to play Leandro Trossard or Kai Havertz as a No9, but for now it is hard to seen anyone other than Nketiah getting the nod. The 24-year-old is not Jesus, but he doesn’t need to be. Instead, he offers Arsenal something different in attack.

Nketiah is a proper poacher and, in an Arsenal team blessed with attacking talent, he should have no shortage of chances.

His confidence is clearly sky high after this and, when the Gunners won a late penalty, you expected Nketiah to step and grab a fourth.

Instead he gave the ball to Fabio Vieira, though, who did the honours, and a perfect afternoon was rounded off by Takehiro Tomiyasu adding a fifth right at the death.