Mikel Arteta hailed “top-level” Eddie Nketiah after the England striker hit a first Premier League hat-trick in a convincing 5-0 win over bottom club Sheffield United.
Nketiah scored the first three goals as the Gunners ran out comfortable victors, with Fabio Vieira’s penalty and Takehiro Tomiyasu’s first goal for the club completing the rout.
The victory took Arsenal up to second place, two points behind leaders and north London rivals Tottenham as Arteta’s men remain unbeaten after 10 league games.
With Gabriel Jesus facing a few weeks out with a hamstring issue, Nketiah has once again been tasked with filling his boots at centre-forward.
His touch and finish for the opening goal proved he can do the job as the England international set the Gunners on their way to a victory over the rock bottom Blades.
He doubled the lead after half-time and rifled home a memorable third – before ending the game with the captain’s armband.
“For me, he’s top-level,” Arteta said after the win.
“He has started eight out of the 10 Premier League games. So that tells you how much we trust him, how much I trust him and and the importance that he has in the team.
“I’m really happy for him, an academy player to experience in the Premier League a hat-trick. He needs to enjoy the moment. He fully deserves it and hopefully there are many more to come.
“He’s got an eye for goal. You look at the stats from his last 10 years. What he’s done is remarkable and he needs minutes, opportunities and service and if he gets that, Eddie is going to score goals, that’s for sure.”
Arsenal are yet to suffer a league defeat this season but Arteta revealed he gave his players an “alert” in training this week after some tough fixtures either side of the October international break.
“They took the game in a really serious way because I gave them on Thursday a big alert because of the context and the difference in the game that we have to play today with the previous Man City,
Chelsea and Sevilla games and I’m really happy how they approached it.
“Obviously they come from the national team, so we beat City, we come from national team, we have to go to Stamford Bridge and we did what we did in Stamford Bridge.
“Then you have to go to Seville and that’s a really really stressful week with what they were experiencing in the last few weeks as well.”
Sheffield United remain bottom and with just one point from their opening nine games.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side are also struggling with injuries – but he was not ready to use that as an excuse for a bad day at the office.
“Arsenal had a lot of the ball first half but Wes (Foderingham) had one save to make,” he said.
“Second half, the goals were really poor that we conceded and probably a reflection of how I thought the game was – they outfought us as well as outplayed us in the first half and that is what good teams can do.
“We are down to the bare bones and missing some big personalities and physicality.”