Eddie Nketiah dedicated his first Premier League hat-trick to his recently deceased aunt after his treble sank Sheffield United.
The newly-capped England striker put the Blades to the sword, scoring the opening three goals before a Fabio Vieira penalty and a first Arsenal strike for Takehiro Tomiyasu wrapped up a convincing 5-0 win.
The result takes the Gunners two points off the top of the table, with Mikel Arteta’s side unbeaten in their first 10 league games of the campaign.
— Eddie Nketiah 📞 (@EddieNketiah9) October 28, 2023
Nketiah, who has started eight of those matches, had not scored since August but topped a special day by finishing the game wearing the captain’s armband.
“To do it at Emirates Stadium, in the Premier League, in front of my family and friends is an amazing feeling,” the 24-year-old said of his hat-trick.
“I lost my aunt not too long ago and I just want to dedicate that to her and her family.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt of this moment – to get three goals in a Premier League match.
“I’m a childhood supporter of the club, so to do it in front of the fans, my friends, my family and my teammates is an amazing feeling. It’s a day I’ll remember forever.”
There could another goal for Nketiah after he picked the ball up to take a late penalty, given after a lengthy VAR check for a foul on substitute Vieira.
Instead, the Portugal midfielder asked to take the spot-kick himself to mark a special moment in his life.
“I was going to take it – I wanted to take it,” explained Nketiah.
“I always want to get more goals. Fabio came to me and he wanted to take it. He won the penalty as well. He’s expecting a little one and it was a really good moment for him to get on the scoresheet and dedicate it.
“I’m a team player – I’d scored a hat-trick and I could allow other players to get in on the act. He took the penalty and scored, so we’re happy.”
Captain Oliver Norwood conceded the penalty as Sheffield United slumped to another defeat that leaves them bottom of the table and with just one point from 10 games.
He was bullish when asked about the performance in north London.
“It is very disappointing,” he said.
“We go in at half-time 1-0 down. Second half it’s difficult to really come and speak and say too much other than it’s not acceptable to keep losing the way that we are.
“It is easy to stand and say ‘we stick together through the hard times’, it’s easy to say that, but now we’ve got to show it.
“We’ve got to really dig in, have a look in the mirror at ourselves individually, because it’s not good enough.”