Arsenal have a rich history of lethal strikers that had left that their marks on the sands of time of the English league; Ian Wright, Nicholas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Slivan Wiltord, Robin Van Persie to mention but a few. Those strikers had more than just goals to their game, they were fantastic footballers that contributed to build up and were seen all over the pitch.
One type of striker that Arsenal have not been so blessed with is the fox in box type. These are strikers that have the right sense of positioning in the penalty box. They have the uncanny ability to be where the ball would fall kindly for them to apply the faintest touch to get the goal. Strikers like Filippo Inzagi and Ruud Van Nisteroy boast of this uncanny ability.
Wenger in his days as manager of Arsenal tried his hands on this type of striker despite his love for one that was more than just a finisher, a player. He signed Croatian World Cup star, Davos Suker in 1999 but he failed to live up to the hype and billing, left after just a season.
Wenger tried again in 2001 with English young sensation who was dubbed as Francis “the fox in the box” Jeffers but he even proved to be a bigger flop than the Croatian as he scored just 4 Premier League goals in 22 appearances spanning 3 seasons.
Not giving up, Wenger tried yet again in 2007 when he signed Eduardo Da Silva from Dinamo Zagreb. This gamble seems a well thought out one as it was paying off until that fateful afternoon at St. Andrews when a tackle from Martin Taylor broke his ankle and the forward never truly recovered.
Since then, Arsenal have not really had anyone to lay claim to that title of a fox in the box until now with the coming of the English young striker, Eddie Nketiah. Last season, he scored 2 goals in 13 appearances while this season, he already has 2 in just 3 appearances. I call Eddie the fox in the box not even because of his goals but the manner of his goals, they are reminiscent of an archetypal goal poacher. He barely contributes to play outside the box but once he ghosts into the box, he times his run to perfection, delivering the final touch which is usually a deadly one as he did against Fulham and Leceister City.
Arsenal have star strikers like Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang and Alexander Lacazette but when they have their backs against the wall, Nketiah is one that can come in and do the damage like he did against Fulham, he is Arsenal’s plan B. He has shown so far reasons why Arteta cut short his loan deal at Leeds Utd to the surprise of fans and pundits.
At 21, Eddie is definitely not the finished article but he has shown enough flashes for the manager and fans to be excited about.