Mikel Arteta wants Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah to put together a consistent run to help Premier League leaders Arsenal cope with Gabriel Jesus’ absence.
The trio all scored in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day, and the Gunners are now certain to end 2022 at the top of the table after building a five-point lead over Manchester City.
Jesus was ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury during the World Cup, in what could prove a blow to their title hopes.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Arteta demanded that Martinelli, Saka and Nketiah keep the standards high.
“It’s just one game. They have to show the consistency and the capacity to do that every three days,” Arteta said in a press conference.
“That’s what we need from the players. Obviously we had a big blow with Gabi, and not having him had a big impact on the team.
“We always said Eddie had the quality and he just needed the opportunities to show that.
“We are really happy with where we are, but as I always said, there are a lot of things we can still do better and improve.”
11/11 – Eddie Nketiah has scored 11 goals in his last 11 starts for Arsenal in all competitions at the Emirates, notching his 11 goals from just 16 shots on target. Clinical. pic.twitter.com/0V7QEdy1SZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2022
Meanwhile, Arteta expects to have another attacking option available soon, revealing Emile Smith Rowe is closing in on a return from the groin injury he suffered in September.
“He’s made some big steps in the last week or so, he took part in a few training sessions lately and is looking good,” Arteta said.
“We are really keen to have him back soon.”
The Gunners are locked in negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk over a deal for Mykhaylo Mudryk, having reportedly had a £57million (€64.4m) bid for the winger rejected.
Shakhtar director Carlo Nicolini said the Ukrainian team expect to receive a fee closer to £100m (€113.2m) for the 21-year-old, who has been touted as a future Ballon d’Or candidate by Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, his former coach.
However, Arteta was reluctant to discuss the potential transfer, saying: “I can’t talk about players that aren’t at Arsenal.”