Mikel Arteta has praised Eddie Nketiah and emphasized the English forward's importance to his side after another impressive goal-scoring performance against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. Nketiah scored a hattrick to steer Arsenal into victory and the semi-finals of the competition.
Arsenal hosted Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, and decisively beat the former Premier League side to secure their place in the semi-finals of the competition. Eddie Nketiah gave the Gunners the lead in the 17th minute to put the ball home from a corner. Nicolas Pepe then doubled the London club's advantage in the 27th minute as he unleashed a shot that deflected off Callum Doyle and into the net. Nathan Broadhead provided a glimmer of hope for Sunderland as he pulled one back in the 31st minute as Arsenal went into the break with a one-goal advantage.
The Gunners soon took control of the match in the second half as Nketiah scored a delightful finish from a cross in the 49th minute. The Englishman sealed his hattrick in the 58th minute as he slotted the ball from a Pepe cross. Youngster Patino then came off the bench for his debut and put on the finishing touches as he latched onto Pepe's cross to slot the ball home in the first minute of stoppage time. Arteta was pleased with Nketiah's performance in their 5-1 win and reiterated his importance to the squad.
“Eddie does what he does in training every day, he put the ball in the net. I think I've been very consistent with what I think about him, how much we like him and his contribution for us every time he plays is top. I want [him to stay], but he just wants more minutes. It's difficult to go against that, but as a club and personally I really want him to stay here. That's what we are trying to do, he's our player and a really important part of the squad," Arteta told Sky Sports after the game.