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Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah scores hat-trick as Arteta’s Gunners thrash Charlton 6-0 in friendly

EDDIE NKETIAH scored a hat-trick as Arsenal thrashed Charlton Athletic 6-0 in a friendly.

The academy graduate, who has worked his way into Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans, scored all three of his goals in the second half.

Arteta’s Gunners are counting down to their big Premier League return on June 17, when they travel to Manchester City.

They enjoyed a perfect warm-up on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates, playing behind-closed doors.

Star pairing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette scored goals as Arsenal cruised in the first half.

Lacazette scored a long-range effort to open the scoring, with Aubameyang curling a trademark effort from the left flank into the far corner.

Nketiah grabbed his first goal following a goalmouth scramble, before coolly converting a one-on-one.

He headed home his third following an impressive ball from fellow graduate Joe Willock.

There was still time for Willock to grab a goal of his own, hitting a first-time shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.

Arsenal Invincible Ray Parlour says the final nine games of the season are massive and will play a major part in how Mikel Arteta shapes his squad next season - with Aubameyang’s future a huge concern.

The Romford Pele told TalkSPORT: "I think they’ve got to try and keep most of their top talent, I’m talking about Aubameyang and people like that, if they’re going to have any chance of trying to get into the Champions League.

"I think a lot of it will be down to the last nine games of this season, I think they’ve still got a glimmer of hope that you never know which teams that are above them are going to come back and hit the ground running.

"If they [Arsenal] can come back and hit the ground running and get a good start to the season, obviously the Man City game is going to be very important, if they can get anything out of that game that will give them a lot of confidence going forward.

"Champions League football is so important for a lot of players these days so Aubameyang, if they can squeeze in there, might sign a new contract, I don’t know.

"If they don’t, then he might be on his way and suddenly you’ve got to replace a striker who scores all your goals."

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