Will Arteta save millions by making Smith-Rowe our centre-forward?

Everyone knows that Arsenal are currently having a crisis in the striker department, with Aubameyang leaving abruptly and Lacazette and Nketiah leaving the club in the summer.

It was hoped that Folarin Balogun would fill one of those positions, but he showed that he wasn’t ready yet to step up before going on loan to Middlesbrough. It remains to be seen how that works out…

At least Arteta tried to buy a new hitman in January (I’m still upset about Vlahovic choosing Juventus) but we must definitely bring in a very talented hitman this summer, if not two.

There has been rumours of Martinelli being trained in the role recently (which may be revealed tomorrow), but Arteta has hinted that he can see Smith-Rowe stepping up to the plate as well. ESR has certainly found his scoring boots lately, and after he hit the net against Brentford again, Arteta revealed: “I think he can play in four positions.

“He can play as a left-winger, he can play as a left attacking midfielder, right attacking midfielder and he can play as a 9; very, very well I think.”

If Arteta really believes in Smith-Rowe, it would save him the problem of having to choose between Martinelli and ESR in every game. A line-up of Saka, Odegaard and Martinelli with Smith-Rowe in the centre would be a formidale force, with Gabi and Emile swapping places at will during the game. It could be an amazing ensemble, confuse our opponents, and would save Arsenal millions in funds by not having to buy a new striker.

What do you think?

Tags Arteta Smith-Rowe


  1. Imo that should not be a priority at this moment in time, let S.Rowe continue to develop his game playing CAM/LW and Martinelli LW. Pepe on the other hand would be intriguing but the boss has to select him first!

    1. Agree with you completely. Would be a huge mistake to move ESR to the CF position. Arteta has tried playing ESR up top in the middle twice; against Emery in Europa, and against City; both times were failures.

      Seems almost silly not to try Pepe there at least once. 72 million sits on the bench, so he can experiment with a young player fantastic as a LW or 10. Can’t help but wonder if ego and arrogance is driving this

  2. If he’s thinking about playing him in that false nine position which he deployed with minimum effect when we got embarrassed by our former manager with an inferior team I would suggest he go back to the drawing board .

  3. Smith-Rowe played the false nine role decently in Villareal, so he could be tried there again if Lacazette and Nketiah are unavailable. Saka is also good with his back to goal, but he is highly required to receive direct passes from Ramsdale

    We’ve got plenty of young CFs waiting for their promotions though, so the CF experiments would likely not happen. Arsenal just need to make sure they won’t pay an obscene amount of money for Joao Felix

      1. He didn’t lose the ball as often as Balogun and Martinelli did when they started as CF this season, but he couldn’t do hold-up play like Lacazette either

        I notice he prefers quick one-touch football instead of keeping the ball, so maybe Arteta wants a CF with a better close control

  4. You never can tell.
    He may just perform well.
    I mean, what worse can he do, compared to what we already have now.
    There is no harm in trying. After all, we have been experimenting with other things like: switching to a 4-3-3, selling Auba, benching Pepe.
    Let’s just try this one out.

  5. Mr. Coach Arteta,, every business venture entails Risk Taking.
    Let us leave Smith Rowe to strengthen as our number 10 Shirted player.and control the left Flank. While Odegaad our 8 controls the Right Flank.
    Then Gabriel Martinelli takes the 9 shirt and grows there, namely that he has speed, is a good header, is a perfect finisher , is energetic and hungry for goals. Try that 9 for Martinelli in your starting XI tomorrow against Wolves and we will not regret it Mr Coach. Lacazelle can come in during 2nd half to seal for a win. You will be surprised by Martinelli.

  6. ESR as CF would be a big gamble considering that our season rests on every single game now, so no experiments for now, rather have Martinelli up there so he can develop his full potential

  7. I think it’s a great idea and it’s not as if he would be a false 9 as I believe he is 6ft and can do the hold up job when necessary which Laca cannot do and he is taller than Laca at 1.82 v 1.76m.
    There is a big difference in playing as a 9 rather than a false 9 which I think Laca actually has been playing! Yes, The Smith centrally with Martinelli and Saka either side sounds pretty good to me.

  8. I thought ESR & Saka were very good for us last season but both needed to add finishing to their game, well they’ve done that, let that carry on until there’s a reason not to

    I thought Laca had a good game against Brentford, looked sharp in the box first half and then did what he does well from a deeper role when we changed things slightly for the second half

    No need to tinker for the sake of it in my view

  9. Whatever be the case, even if Arteta does experiment successfully with a Gunners front quartet-lineup that consists of: Martinelli LW, Odegaard CM, Saka RW & ESR CF against Wolves in the EPL tomorrow night at the Ems. As been touted he could to see how effective such a Gunners front-four attack will turnout for Arsenal in terms of goals scoring productivity.

    Nonetheless, for adequate option and to provide cover. Arsenal will still have to sign 2 new marquee strikers of high goals scoring capabilities at the top level of the game next summer. But if Lacazette stays on to remain in the team next season as envisaged he could. Then, only one top class new striker of high goals scoring repute at the top level should Arsenal sign next summer transfer window but not 2 in my own view. That’s of course assuming the Arteta’s experimentation to play ESR as centreforward worked.

    But will Arteta be that bold to drop Lacazette for ESR to start as CF in our Wolves match? I doubt if hw will do that. Except if Laca can’t start the Wolves match due to a strong reason that stopped him to start would Arteta probably decides to start ESR, Martinelli or even Pepe to start at centreforward position for Arsenal at home against Wolves. Or at away to Watford.

    Desiringly, I will want to see Arteta take a gamble to start ESR 1st, Martinelli again and Pepe as CF with Lacazette still in the starting XI team lineup against a team one of these days. But take a gamble to do an experiment with a new front-four setup, which he’s not sure it’ll work fine when Arsenal are seriously contesting for a top-four place EPL finish this season?

  10. ESRs strength is his movement, overlapping the striker and timing his late runs into the box, I think playing him striker may ruin this.

    I’m sure he would still do well but I’d rather play him where he’s 100% effective rather than 90% effective out of position. Obv I’d rather have him starting than on the bench.

  11. I really do not understand how we fans view things,
    To play CF in the EPL, you have to be physically strong 💪🏿, have shot power and be able to receive the ball from the goal keeper,
    These IMO are not Smith-Rowe’s strength, dropping someone like Lacazette will invariably leave our midfield weak,
    I believe Martinelli/Smith-Rowe would need a lot of support to play the CF role else they would be injured within just 2 games playing in the CF role,

    The way I see it, Smith-Rowe/Martinelli would play the role well in a 3-4-3 formation with Muscles as Tavares and Tomiyasu playing wingbacks.

    1. Err, ESR is physically strong, has shot power and why on earth can he not receive the ball from the keeper? He’s taller than Laca and his shots to goals ratio is superior.

  12. this will in fact costs us millions…wouldn’t be surprised as there’s nothing this manager likes more than a good shoehorning experiment

  13. No!!!

    The only thing Arteta will achieve by moving ESR to center forward is to ruin his Arsenal career!

    I will state again, this is a ploy by Arteta to bring Nellie Back.

    You may all like Nellie, but in my view he is a one-trick-pony!!!

    In the summer Arsenal will look for a Center Forward who will replace ESR (assuming he hasn’t been replaced by Lacca by then), and he will be consigned to the bench again.

    I truly believe ESR needs to leave Arsenal FC ASAP!!!!!

        1. Really, are you sure! Some of these do make me lol, like Liverfool and Chelshit, all very childish. By the way acfri3nd = friend 😊

          1. Declan, I have blocked words from schoolboys many times, which I won’t repeat here, but I see Nellie as term of endearment as it is part of his name. It is not derogatory mate.

            1. I know it’s not derogatory now but just hadn’t a clue who it was just never heard or seen it before, unlike Auba, Laca, ESR, and my favourite, which I use, The Smith 😊

  14. Another response blocked!!!

    Admin Pat, You really are totally biased in your views and your censorship I find distasteful.

    By inference, I find you just another example of the slow degeneration of Arsenal FC.

    1. TBF mate
      Sometimes posts don’t go through I had one last week where I had put some numbers in and for some reason it just wouldn’t go through so changes it up and it got posted .
      Maybe it’s a word that you have written that does not get through their filter .
      I’ve been on here long enough to know Pat is fair unless there is swearing or personal abuse .
      I would suggest it was on you’re end not JUst Arsenals.

    2. @JW if I blocked any of your comments I would always explain why publicly. I can honestly say I have no idea what you are talking about.

  15. I could see it being the excuse if we do not buy at least a CF this summer.something along the lines of”the club didn’t buy a striker because we believe that we already have”whatshisname” who can play this position..” or”with……back from his loan,we believe he can do a very good job at CF,he is like a new player..”

  16. I am among what I think likely to be an increasing number of fans -and that includes many other clubs fans too – who are looking anew at what was the old traditional centre forward role and at its effectiveness versus its often INeffectiveness, in todays game

    I look at Lukaku and see how Chelsea struggle with this huge but often lazy and seemingly only half interested player in their team. And then I see them without a physical beast of an out and our central striker and see how more fluid their all round play is.

    I see the old usefulness of the out and out central striker- as opposed to players like Salah and Martinelli, who strike from wider positions – becoming less and less effective and dominant in our modern quick passing game.

    This quick inter passing andmoving the ball with GREAT SPEED, is precisely why such slowboats as XHAKA are less and less useful now than even say three years ago. The game moves on tactically and moves on quicker than some realise.
    That being said though, great central strikers like HAALAND and KANE, will always have a key role. But there are few world class strikers out there today who we could afford and so I think we, together with many other clubs, will more and more play with false nines, essentially midfielders who have an an eye for goal but whose main attribute is quick and accurate movement with or wiithout the ball.

    Just my personal view on how football is currently evolving.

      1. How can anyone even suggest that an elite athlete who clubs go through rigorous scouting and a top of the range medical is In somehow a lazy player .
        A load of guff talk .

          1. You can dare me as much as you like Declan ,but that comment was not aimed at you ,but the 🤡 above .
            Get with the program buddy 👍

            1. This is coming from someone who daily try’s to bully someone be it a writer or a poster ,unfortunately you cannot do the same to me and that is where your problem lies as I tell it back straight as it is .

  17. Saving the money for who and what.
    Chamberlain was coming up and we said let’s give him playing time and where is he!!!
    Let’s buy a lethal strker

  18. I am going for a 3 – 2 victory over wolves tomorrow. Spuds and Manu playing first is to their advantage, however I feel this can also spur the gunners on too. Arteta knows he can’t afford to slip up henceforth regardless of a new deal. Although for a rookie, he has done well so far… The top four race is open still.

  19. Arsenal’s ability to get maximum point from ‘smaller’ teams makes them a good candidate for the Top 4. Mind you, it’s not mere coincidence neither is it luck – we look more likely to win than lose against those teams, these days.

    Watching Spurs lose to Burnley after their shock victory over City further underlines the importance of consistency against lower ranked teams. The loss has effectively cancelled out the 3 points they got last game against City.

    If Arsenal wins tomorrow’s game, we will be back to 6 points above Spurs after 24 games each. Hopefully, Burnley also takes some points off Wolves, ManU and Chelsea. We only have to rue not taking the 3 points against them last time due to lack of squad depth and fatigue coupled with poor transfer decisions.

    1. I’m hoping tomorrow will be different but normally every time Arsenal have a chance to capitalise on other teams around them getting beat they bottle it and don’t take advantage c
      an see the same happening against Wolves who will be well up for this games after the Arsenal players celebrations at there place this could come back to bite us!!

  20. I’ve noticed Lukaku don’t score regularly against the top teams..or in big games…that’s why I don’t want him at Arsenal

  21. Ohh my comment didn’t go through. I stated that the fact that spuds and manure are playing ahead of is not to our advantage however their results can only spur us on for better results.

    Arsenal is coming on top with a 3 – 2 banger off wolves tomorrow and this is because wolves want to prove a point… we can hurt them. Crossing my fingers

  22. If Smith Rowe is to be played at the False no9 role it just reminds me maybe a Firmino type of move with Salah/Mane on each wing, where as we have Martinelli & Saka.

    Emile can hold the ball up well and always finds himself in perfect positions in and around of the 18yard box so has the natural instinct to be in the right place at the right time.

    I still think Øde beside Partey with SmithRowe in front of them pulling the strings for Saka/Martinelli on the wings with Laca up top would be ideal. Emile has that fight and fire in his play to play in the middle and can run with ball endlessly & his moving forward of the ball is suburb. Mikel is right the kid can play in a few positions.

    v Wolves;

    Or Xhaka plays!! I know who I’d rather have in my starting 11…

  23. Burnley 1 Tottenham Hs 0 @full-time in the EPL@Turf Moor is a match result that I least expected will happen tonight. Especially if how Spurs were able to defeat the reigning EPL champions and current Leaders Man City at their backyard the Etihad last Saturday is taken into account. More so, as the Spurs’ clinical goals scorer Harry Kane who was in their lineup last Saturday is also in their lineup tonight.

    But since this is EPL where the unexpected result can happen. It is not surprising after all to see Spurs have fallen to Burnley tonight.

    Nevertheless, though Wolves the Arsenal opponent team at the Ems tomorrow night in the EPL are not lowly placed in the League as Burnley are but currently mid-table placed. And are noted to be in-form going in into their away match to Arsenal. But even as the Gunners have taken the Foxes by the gun beating them one nil and collected all the 3 points at stake for collection in the tough match encounter played at the Molinuex 13 days ago.

    Nonetheless, Arsenal should first and foremost recognize that they are a EPL team to watch. And this makes them a target for beating any club sides who will feel they are in a state of euphoria after beating Arsenal celebrating as if they’ve just won the football World Cup at the senior team level.

    For this particular reason and other reasons too like Arsenal XI playing against Wolves XII tomorrow with the PGMO match centre-referee being the Wolves 12th player there on the field ordered by Mike Riley to officiate the proceedings of the match to the favour the Torts to compensate them for the surprise loss they suffered at the hands of Burnley.

    With this my aforesaid intended to pre warn Arsenal to be on the red alert when they take on Wolves tomorrow to beat them to go 5th in the table. The Gunners MUST play the match to score goals in the game and score them isn number. Which the PGMO match officiating officials cannot anull but accept for being credible goals scored by Arsenal in the match.

    The Gunners should try as much as they can to avoid getting booked or got brandished the red card to any face of theirs by the match referee. While in the same vain, let them not give any penalties away to the Foxes in the match.

  24. Or maybe try a 3-5-2 system.

    Tomi White Gabriel
    Saka Odegaard Smith-R Tierney

    Laca Martinelli

    Or 3-5-1-1

    Tomi White Gabi


    Saka Odegaard Martenelli Tierney



    Or maybe it could be too late to change formation now. Just a thought.

  25. Where did that caption picture come from?
    I can’t take my eyes off it; almost like ESR is flirting to the manager🤷‍♂️

  26. I would like to see this line up
    White holding gabriel
    Tomi tierney
    Partey odegrd
    Saka laca pepe
    Then you can bring on smith and martinelli in the final 20mins for their speed when the wolves side is tired and mind you as super subs smith score goals and martinelli is a beast

  27. There are two things involved here

    playing ESR as a false 9
    Or playing him as an actual 9

    They are two different things here

    Remember any of ESR or Martineli being played at center forward is to accommodate the other at the left wing.. The first rule of playing any of them as a false nine is identify which of them is a better goal threat from the wing…
    If ESR is the better goal threat, then Martineli should be the false 9 and not ESR

    But if he(ESR) is going to be played like an actual number 9.. Then the formation needs to be changed to something like a 442 where he will need another target man and a support… His strengths are not suited to an out and out number 9… He will need great strength and hold up play plus pressing tirelessly…

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