In the end, Arsenal surrendered their hold on the FA Cup with a meek defeat to Southampton on Saturday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s side had gone into the game off the back of some good results in the Premier League, but right from the very first whistle, the Gunners looked completely disjointed – it certainly didn’t help that the Arsenal boss decided to make some changes to his starting line-up.
And one of those players who came in from the cold, was Eddie Nketiah.
The England U21 international was given the chance to start from the off, a particularly telling show of faith given that reports have suggested West Ham are interested in signing him and Folarin Balogun’s hat-trick for the U23s a day earlier.
If the game against Southampton was seen as Nketiah’s opportunity to prove the doubters wrong and show everyone what he can do, then he badly fluffed his lines.
As per Sofascore, he lost 11 of his 12 duels on the day, with the majority of his time being spent failing miserably to try and hold his ground against the likes of Jan Bednarek and Jack Stephens at the heart of the Southampton defence.
Nketiah struggled massively in that lone number nine role, constantly trying to make runs into the channels, but not providing any hold-up or link-up play with the rest of the Gunners’ attackers.
It was telling that he made just 19 passes in the time that he was on the pitch, by far the lowest amount of any starter. And his usual strong point of finishing chances in and around the box also deserted him, including Arsenal’s biggest opportunity when he was put through on goal only for him to meekly toe poke it at Fraser Forster.
Whilst Nicolas Pepe may come under intense criticism for another display where he failed to really impose his own game, it was Nketiah who arguably let his manager down the most.
Arteta gave him the keys to Arsenal’s attack with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang not in the squad, and Alexandre Lacazette being rested on the bench. This display would have done nothing to convince him that Nketiah is ready to start in the Premier League anytime soon.