Mikel Arteta offered Arsenal’s No. 10 Emile Smith-Rowe a chance to shine against Brentford in the Carabao Cup, and the 23-year-old grasped it with both hands.
He made the most of his moment to shine; he was influential in our 1-0 win against London rivals Brentford to secure a spot in the Carabao Cup fourth round against West Ham.
Mikel Arteta was full of admiration for Emile Smith Rowe after the game, who was starting his first Arsenal game in 499 days; notably, that was his 100th senior appearance.
Arteta stated after the game: “I think he had really good moments in the first half, and the game was much easier for him with the way he was developing with his qualities. But then, with the game we started to play after five or 10 minutes in the second half, he was more struggling.
“Physically, he’s still not ready for 90 minutes. We have to bare in mind that we had four or five players in that field that were subs, and that was a big concern today for us in the line-up, especially because we had seven at Colney that are not fit now.”
He added on the midfielder picking up a knock: “He did; it wasn’t because of that.
“We have to manage his minutes. His load has been a big spike in the last few weeks, and he was struggling to finish the game. The same with Reiss.”
On if Smith Rowe brings something different to the team: “Yeah, he’s very vertical. You see when he’s running with the ball, the capacity he’s got in short spaces, his arriving in the box.
“He’s got different qualities to do that attacking midfielder. It’s great to have him. We need him at his best. Now he’s starting to get some rhythm and minutes, which is great for the team.”
Reiss Nelson, who scored our winner, echoed Arteta’s words, admitting how impressive Smith Rowe was and noting after the game that he would understand his teammate if he (Smith Rowe) had been frustrated not to score considering what a nuisance he was for the opposing defenders. He said after the game, “I am really pleased (for Emile), but I know he’s going to be upset because he done a nice bit of trickery in the box and should’ve scored 100 percent.
“But he’s a great player, great lad, and one of the best players I’ve played with, been through the whole rankings with him, so congrats on your 100th game, mate!”
Smith Rowe demonstrated effort and drive in another game where Havertz did not shine. While the ex-Blue handled the ball with care, our academy graduate handled it like a weapon.
If Smith Rowe and Havertz were auditioning for a spot in our starting lineup, Smith Rowe would be the one to get the job. Did you watch the game? What did you think of our No. 10’s performance?
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