Nketiah in tune with Ceballos for Arsenal winner
Arsenal match-winner Eddie Nketiah has mended fences with teammate Dani Ceballos after a standoff between the pair a week ago was forgotten as they linked up to secure a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in the English Premier League on Saturday (Sept 19).
During the warm-up before Arsenal’s match at newly promoted Fulham last week, Nketiah, 21, and Ceballos, 24, were seen to clash briefly, in a clip widely shared on social media.
But they seem to have set their differences aside since then and, on Saturday at The Emirates, the Spaniard laid off the ball for England Under-21 captain Nketiah to score.
Speaking about the clash with Ceballos and the goal, Nketiah told Sky Sports: “We had a bit of a coming together. The reaction was there. We made up and got on with it.
“It was a great pass across, good vision. I tried to stay onside. It was an easy finish from there. It was nice for him to make the assist – it’s all love now.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised Nketiah’s contribution as a substitute and suggested it was an example other players who want time on the pitch should follow.
“It’s so important for him and the team as well. It’s a message to everyone on the bench that they have a mission when they come on,” he said.
Asked about the Nketiah-Ceballos incident last week, Arteta gave a light-hearted response.
“That’s the beauty of this sport. Today they found a way to understand each other,” he said.
Arteta also praised Arsenal’s mental strength to secure victory despite an underwhelming performance. After Michail Antonio cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener for the hosts, West Ham enjoyed the majority of the chances, before Nketiah scored the winner in the 85th minute.
“I am really happy with the three points and it’s a time to analyse properly because we have a lot of issues,” said Arteta.
“What I like is the approach the boys had in the last 25 minutes where I could see they were a bit down and then they lifted it. Probably a few months ago, we would have drawn or lost that game and today we won. In the end, you have to find a way because there will be games like this through the season.”
The Gunners move level with Everton and Crystal Palace on maximum points at the top of the table after two games.
For West Ham, it was their second defeat in as many games, though they deserved something to show for their performance and felt hard done by with some decisions that went against them, including not being awarded a penalty for handball from defender Gabriel Magalhaes early on.
“I definitely think we should have had a penalty, but we don’t know the rules, really, do we?” said Hammers manager David Moyes.
“Not to be rewarded with some points tonight is really hard on us. For us, just to turn off in the last five minutes, it’s criminal.” – REUTERS, AFP