As I went for my early morning run this morning, I listened to the always excellent ArsenalVision podcast and the guys talking about the Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah situation, which got my grey matter moving, so I thought I’d  wade in with some thoughts on today’s blog, if you’ll indulge me?

What am I talking about? Of course you’ll indulge me, because it’s not like you can tell me to stop and do anything else, is it? I mean, I’d have no problem with that, but this isn’t exactly an interactive medium I’m afraid, so you’ll just have to stick with me. Apart from the comments section – you can go to town on me in there if you like. But anyway, I digress…

So, yeah, the Nketiah situation. There’s plenty of us who are more than a little concerned that we’re in all likelihood missing Gabby Jesus until at least March, which led the guys on the pod to talk about what that means, the options, the differences between Eddie and Gabby. Of course there are differences, they are quite marked as we all know, but what I’m going to try my best to do is to get into positive mode. To see if I can hype myself up for a prolonged period of Eddie. After all, this is the season of perpetual hope and with Jesus not available to us this Christmas, we need to put the ‘feels’ in to Eddie and his performances.

Firstly though, we need to acknowledge that Eddie won’t give us the same game that Gabriel Jesus does. He won’t have the  quick feet that Gabby J does, he won’t bring as high an intensity press as Jesus does, he isn’t going to have the same relationship with Martinelli that Jesus does. So how else can he fill the gap?

The first obvious one, which plenty has pointed to, is goals. Gabriel Jesus wasn’t scoring goals, but he was delivering high output and enabling his colleagues to get in to those positions. Last season people said that about Lacazette but I never really saw that level of being that playmaking striker; all I saw was a guy cashing in his big wages and waddling about the pitch for half a season. That’s one of the positives on Eddie; he will be a big upgrade on having to play a player like Lacazette. He will press,  he will use pace, he will score more goals than Laca and the end of last season showed that. In fact, with a run of games, he might even bag more goals than Gabriel Jesus would have done with the same time frame. So if we’re looking to the positives that is definitely one: he should be able to deliver on output.

The challenge that the team as a whole has is that Eddie won’t deliver the same in build up that Jesus does. So that means others will need to take the strain. In 2012 we lost Robin van Persie to Man United. He scored 30 goals in 38 games – a phenomenal return for one player. He was the talisman, a genius, a guy who single-handedly at times got us in to the top four. And in that summer after 2011/12 season, I remember writing a blog that talked about how we couldn’t replace RvP in terms of goal output, so we needed multiple players to do the heavy lifting. In that summer we signed Giroud, Podolski and Santi Cazorla. In the 2012/13 season Santi got 12, Giroud got 11, Podolski got 11. A return of 35 goals and so what I had said had rung true; we didn’t replace like-for-like, we spread the burden.

That is the mantra that Arteta needs to be talking to his team about now, but not from a goalscoring perspective. Instead, it needs to be from all of the other parts of Gabriel Jesus’ game that he enabled us to transform as a team as we have done for the first part of this season. So that’s what we need to see now. We need to see that pressing from all players, but maybe with even more intensity, because to be fair our press has been much more co-ordinated this season. We need to have somebody like Odegaard or Smith Rowe be able to provide that link up play, so that Eddie can do what he does best and be that dynamic and mobile forward in the box. Then in the penalty box Eddie has to step up and bag goals. If we’re going to win football matches, we’re going to have to do it differently to the way we did it pre-World Cup.

And in that respect, if we can get that balance right, then Eddie will be a useful fill in for a time.  I still think we need one more in January because you need to rotate Eddie in and out based on fatigue, but if Arteta and his Arsenal team can spend the rest of December resetting the style of play thaat suits Eddie’s game, he showed last season that he has the capability to bag goals.

I am going to ‘lean in to the feels’ for Eddie for the rest of December. We need to give him everything – as I know we all will based on the support for the team this season – and that could help him to pick up that good form from parts of the end of last season. He’ll press, he’ll harry, he’ll put defenders under stress and like Leeds at home  last season, he’ll be that nuisance that Jesus could be. But we just need him to be that guy who does that and bags some goals.

That West Ham game will be really important for all of us. If he bags a goal starting from the beginning of the match, then a lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief, because we’ll know at least he’ll do his bit from a goalscoring perspective. But we will need him to take his chances. He’ll be given them with better players around him, so hopefully this current worry many of us have, can be short lived as soon as he steps out on to the pitch on Boxing Day.

Right, that’s me done for today. Have a good one and I’ll catch thee in the morrow.