Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s reason for dropping Nketiah vs Leicester

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta dropped Eddie Nketiah to the bench for Saturday’s Premier League match at Leicester. It was the first time the striker had not started for the leaders since the World Cup.

Nketiah has been the only fit striker for Arsenal in that time. Gabriel Jesus suffered a knee injury while playing for Brazil in Qatar and is still yet to return to full training.

Jesus was a key player in the first part of the season and Nketiah had big shoes to fill. The former Gunners academy star scored six goals in his first six games upon the resumption of domestic football.

But he hasn’t scored in any of his last five matches and was left out at the King Power Stadium. January signing Leandro Trossard was preferred to Nketiah through the middle.

Mikel Arteta provides team news ahead of Leicester clash

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The Evening Standard reports there is no fitness or injury issue with Nketiah. Arteta is instead rotating up top ahead of a busy schedule.

Arsenal play their game in hand against Everton in midweek, before Bournemouth visit the Emirates next Saturday. Nketiah had started the last 11 matches and has played every single minute of those games.

It is the most prolonged spell as a starter he has had at senior level in his career. But Arteta clearly feels he was in need of a rest for the trip to Leicester.

Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli were therefore given the chance to start a match for the first time together. Trossard occasionally played centrally during his time at Brighton, while Martinelli has occupied that role earlier in his Arsenal career under Unai Emery.

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Meanwhile, Arteta says Jesus is progressing well from his knee injury and is doing all he can to be back as soon as possible. However, the Spaniard still refused to put a timeframe on when the former Manchester City star will return to action.

Arteta said at his press conference on Friday: “He’s progressing really well. He’s doing more and more on the field and he’s not reacting [negatively], so that’s really positive.

“We want to have him as quickly as possible but also respect the timeframe we got from the doctor and the specialists. He’s really pushing the boundaries right now.”

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