Striker’s emergence has had no sense of inevitability and he is showing how fine the dividing lines of fate in football can be

Managers can map out the league in immense detail. They can work out when they might rest players, when training might be stepped up or relaxed. They can plot when they might use a back three or a back four. They can draw up contingencies: if he is out then he can play here or we can switch him over there. And then sometimes, even in the days of multi-layered squads, of two or more players for every position, things just happen.

Maybe that is unfair on Eddie Nketiah. Maybe Mikel Arteta always had faith he could deputise for Gabriel Jesus. Maybe it’s unfair to think of him as an unlikely matchwinner. But Sunday against Manchester United was his fifth start of the season. And it was the first day of his life when his number of Premier League starts for Arsenal (24) exceeded his age (23).

Continue reading...