Warning sirens sounded at the Emirates when news broke of Gabriel Jesus’ (£5.3m) three-month layoff.
The Brazilian was a key contributor to Arsenal’s flying start to the Premier League season, scoring five goals, assisting five others, while also linking the attacking unit together and leading a high press when out of possession.
It’s no secret that the Gunners do not have the squad depth of Man City, their main rivals this term, and so some supporters feared that the absence of a key cog would derail the progress of Mikel Arteta’s side.
But Arsenal have continued on their merry way without Jesus, beating West Ham and Brighton since the restart and drawing 0-0 to top-four hopefuls Newcastle – they also ensured progression to the FA Cup fourth round with a routine win over Oxford on Monday night.
One of the reasons the league leaders are yet to suffer from the loss of their No9 is the effort of capable understudy, Eddie Nketiah (£2.6m).
The 23-year-old does not share the same skill set as Jesus and is more one-dimensional but he is a focused striker who has the sharp instincts of a predatory goalscorer when inside the opposition penalty area.
With Bukayo Saka (£4.3m), Gabriel Martinelli (£3.5m) and Martin Odegaard (£3.4m) playing so well in tandem, Nketiah has benefited from excellent service and has proved himself a natural poacher.
Since the restart, he’s scored five goals in as many games, a fruitful run that has resulted in a return of 35 Dream Team points.
After a blank against Newcastle, the Gunners’ academy graduate cashed in against League One opposition with a brace in the FA Cup to kick off Game Week 17.
The transfer rumour mill suggests the north London club are still hopeful of signing a forward this month but for now Nketiah is doing a superb job in Jesus’ absence.
Dream Team bosses would do well to consider the bargain option (he’s currently cheaper than Patson Daka, Odsonne Edouard and Danny Welbeck) as he’s also a massive differential.
With an ownership of 1.5%, he’s as popular as Neco Williams (£2.3m) and Matty Cash (£2m) right now – surely he deserves a popularity boost?
Granted, Arsenal’s remaining January fixtures are tricky to negotiate – Spurs, Man United, Man City – but on current form they will fear no opponent.