Shearer questions Arteta's decision to persist with Arsenal star

Alan Shearer questions Mikel Arteta’s faith in Arsenal star despite Everton win – and asks whether he is the ‘elite’ striker to take title challengers to the ‘next level’

  • Alan Shearer has questioned Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team selection choices
  • Arsenal remained within two points of PL leaders Man City thanks to Everton win
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!

Alan Shearer has questioned Mikel Arteta’s team selection despite Arsenal picking up a 1-0 win against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday. 

A second-half strike from substitute Leandro Trossard was enough to secure all three points for the Gunners on Merseyside. 

They were frustrated for long periods against Sean Dyche’s strugglers, with Gabriel Martinelli seeing a first-half goal controversially ruled out for offside. 

The victory means that Arsenal have picked up four wins from their opening five games of the new Premier League season. 

This run of form has left them two points behind defending champions Manchester City in the early league table, but Shearer believes Arteta may need to change his team to keep pace. 

Alan Shearer has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to persist with a member of the Arsenal side that started the weekend win at Everton

Arteta’s Arsenal picked up their fourth win from five games this season courtesy of a second-half goal from substitute Leandro Trossard

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The former England captain was critical of the Arsenal boss for selecting Eddie Nketiah in attack. 

The 24-year-old has started four of Arsenal’s five league games so far, but failed to register a shot at goal in the Everton win. 

Shearer questioned whether Nketiah can be considered among the best forwards in the Premier League.

He said: ‘I think we’ll continue to have the discussion to say is he elite? Is he the top drawer striker that perhaps Arsenal need to go to that next level?

‘We’ll keep asking those questions because it’s important when he gets the opportunity, and the manager says I’m having belief in you and I’m putting you in again, then he has to take those opportunities.

‘I just thought there were two or three occasions [against Everton], one being the disallowed goal, there was a couple in that second half where I’m thinking, ‘come on, get on the end of it get in that six-yard box and get that tap in that all great strikers do’ and it was just a split second where he was slow. Until he keeps doing or does that, questions are still going to be asked.’

Nketiah was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 66th minute of the game at Goodison when Arsenal were still chasing a decisive goal. 

The London-born forward has already found the net against Crystal Palace and Fulham this season, earning him a call-up to the England squad for recent fixtures against Ukraine and Scotland.

However, Nketiah did not feature in either game for Gareth Southgate’s side and could now see his starting place at Arsenal come under threat. 

Eddie Nketiah endured a frustrating afternoon at Goodison Park despite Arsenal’s 1-0 win

However, he has enjoyed a promising start to the season, scoring in games against Nottingham Forest and Fulham

Nketiah’s form was enough to earn him a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, although he did not feature against Ukraine or Scotland

Explaining his decision to replace goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale with David Raya for the Everton game, Arteta made it clear that there are no guaranteed starters in his squad.

Suggesting he will regularly rotate his starting XI throughout the season, the Arsenal boss said: ‘[It is] The same rationale that Fabio [Vieira] played or Eddie played instead of Gabriel Jesus.

‘I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel Jesus hasn’t started. He’s won more trophies than anyone, including me, in that dressing room. It’s something that has been historically done like this, but I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them.’

It remains to be seen whether Arteta will stick with Nketiah for Arsenal’s opening Champions League group stage fixture against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday. 

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