Arsenal player ratings: Nketiah 10/10 for hat trick vs. Sheff United

Arsenal player ratings: Nketiah 10/10 for hat trick vs. Sheff United

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Arsenal player ratings: Nketiah 10/10 for hat trick vs. Sheff United
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Eddie Nketiah struck his first Premier League hat trick in exquisite style as Arsenal maintained the pressure on North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table with a crushing 5-0 victory over winless Sheffield United.

The Arsenal academy graduate controlled the ball and calmly slotted it past Wes Foderingham to open the scoring just shy of the half-hour mark, before smashing a stunning second into the roof of the net shortly after the restart.

And the best was still to come as the forward picked up Emile Smith Rowe’s pass and fired an unstoppable 25-yard piledriver beyond the helpless Foderingham, who could only watch the ball nestle into the top corner.

Arsenal weren’t finished and there was still time for Fabio Vieira to add a fourth from the penalty spot, before right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu made it a fantastic five in the dying seconds to cap a breathtaking afternoon at the Emirates.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Positives

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe that Nketiah display. The unplayable forward blew away the Blades with a phenomenal individual performance that had a little bit of everything.

Negatives

Despite their dominance, Arsenal looked sluggish for 25 minutes or so as Mikel Arteta’s men struggled to find their usual creative spark. By the final whistle though, their biggest disappointment will have been that they didn’t score even more.

Manager rating

8 — Arsenal will need to rotate their best players if they are to go all the way this time around and Arteta did just that with some smart changes, though Nketiah’s introduction was enforced by Gabriel Jesus’ injury. However, nobody will be more delighted for the striker than the Arsenal boss who has continued to back him.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David Raya, 8 — Commanded his area confidently and quickly put the Gunners on to the front foot with some pinpoint distribution. Didn’t have a single save to make en route to his fifth clean sheet of the season.

DF Ben White, 8 — Perhaps we should start calling him “Whitinho.” The right-back has raised the bar this season and caught the eye again when he danced through the Sheffield United midfield with ease. Later, he drew a fine save from Foderingham with a swirling effort.

DF William Saliba, 7 — The easiest 90 minutes he’ll get through all season. Hardly troubled but looked class and had a 96.1% pass completion rate.

DF Jakub Kiwior, 6 — A 10th Premier League appearance for the 23-year-old, and probably his easiest so far against a Sheffield United attack that was virtually non-existent.

DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 — Looked like he was playing about three different positions. Ran his socks off in a non-stop outing and always provided a good option for his teammates. Spent a ridiculous amount of time in the Sheffield United box which epitomised his work rate.

MF Declan Rice, 8 — A typically assertive performance in the middle of the park. He hustled and outmuscled the opposition, and threaded an inviting cross through the legs of the defender to find Nketiah who opened the scoring.

MF Emile Smith Rowe, 8 — An industrious display on his return to the starting XI. It took a smart intervention from ex-Gunner Auston Trusty to keep him off the scoresheet and he grabbed an assist courtesy of Nketiah’s screamer.

MF Kai Havertz, 6 — Got through plenty of work in the middle as the hosts suffocated their struggling opponents, but he failed to provide much of an attacking outlet. He was hacked down ruthlessly Ben Osborn who was booked immediately after coming on.

FW Bukayo Saka, 7 — The young captain picked out Rice, whose cross brought the opening goal, and secured another attacking return when his corner was crashed home for 2-0.

FW Gabriel Martinelli, 8 — The silky Brazilian breezed past opponents and frequently picked out teammates in dangerous areas with some frankly outrageous vision. Stung the palms of Foderingham with a thumping effort as the hosts continued to apply the heat.

FW Eddie Nketiah, 10 — Breathtaking; what a way to hit your first hat-trick! The forward has started to look like the real deal this season, but this was his finest hour to date by some distance, much to the delight of his teammates and the Gunners faithful.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

DF Takehiro Tomiyasu, 7 — Replaced the impressive White and marked his 50th Arsenal appearance with his first goal for the club when he steered a late effort beyond Foderingham on the spin.

MF Leandro Trossard, 6 – Replaced Martinelli, perhaps to save him from a kicking as the visitors’ discipline started to wane. Made a nuisance of himself in his 30-minute outing.

MF Fabio Vieira, NR – Replaced Smith Rowe and won his side a penalty when he was caught late by Oliver Norwood. He picked himself up off the turf to send Foderingham the wrong way and make it 4-0.

MF Mohamed Elneny, NR – A late cameo for the Egypt international who replaced Rice in the final minutes.

FW Reiss Nelson, NR – Replaced Saka for his fourth Premier League appearance of the season.


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Arsenal player ratings: Nketiah 10/10 for hat trick vs. Sheff United

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