When Emile Smith Rowe signed his new contract in the summer, Mikel Arteta challenged his new number 10 to make more match-defining contributions. 

In Sunday’s 3-1 win over Sp*rs, he did exactly that, helping himself to a goal and laying on an assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He later described the occasion as the “best day of my life.”

While the boss is clearly impressed with recent performances, he maintains his young midfielder can further develop his game.

“We will see,” said Arteta when asked how far Smith Rowe can go in the game. 

“He’s very good right now and he can get still much better. There are things in his game that he must improve and develop. He’s so hungry to do that. 

“It will depend on how his teammates help him, how confident he is in his head, how he takes the next step, how he handles his pride and negativity and pressure as well.”

At the club when a 19-year-old Jack Wilshere was making waves at the Emirates, Arteta knows all about the hype and expectations that can be bestowed on homegrown players. 

Asked if he saw similarities in the rise of Wilshere and Smith Rowe, the Spaniard said: “It’s exciting that people are seeing our Academy players with the potential to become big players for the club. 

“That’s already a joy that they believe that’s the case because we do believe they have the potential to do it. Now that potential has to become a reality and they have to fulfil it.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

For me, it’s just the simplicity of his game and the emphasis on the fundamentals. He did it against Sp*rs at the weekend and did it against WBA last season. It sounds simple but with his first touch he knocks the ball out in front of him and allows the momentum of his stride to continue. He doesn’t have to stop, check back, pass behind him. It’s so simple. He just wants to turn round so he’s facing goal and either find a good pass or go on a run. It’s so simple. He doesn’t have insane tekkers. He doesn’t… Read more »

Parisian Weetabix

I agree with this. There’s a wonderful smoothness to him – he lubricates the attack and seems to make everyone else play better. You can see it in the pass he plays for the third goal as well, with the way he shifts the ball out from under his feet and then bangs it out wide to Saka. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but he just does it so smoothly, making the right decision and executing it. Alluding to what Arteta says, his touch is so good at times that I’d like to see him be a bit more proactive with it… Read more »


Well said.

With his close control, brilliant first touch and ability to cut in and leave defenders in his wake, he reminds me a bit of Merse – albeit with a lot more pace.

The sky’s the limit for him – and as you say, nice to have some old school directness rather step-overs.

Never Relegated

I just don’t like Paul Merson, the guy is a joke always negative about The Arsenal. Haven’t a clue why people call him an Arsenal legend. That word legend is used excessively these days especially when talking about us it winds me up. Just the other day I read an article that described William Gallas as an Arsenal icon…. Arsenal icon?! Give me a break lol


I know what you mean about tekkers but his technique is pretty fantastic. Is rarely dispossessed and has an astonishing passing accuracy for an attacking midfielder. An english Iniesta.


That’s an interesting description of his style. May explain him being still quite under the radar generally, aside from being at banter-club Arsenal. Stepovers get you highlights, even if you subsequently twat the ball into the sky. I guess he’s a sort of anti-Grealish, who does a lot of shimmying but doesn’t really carry the ball. Or that’s how he seemed to me at the Euros. To be honest stepovers are something that make me instantly dislike a player, but that’s probably my defender’s instinct wanting to clean anyone out who tries it. It’s a wonder I don’t slide tackle… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

Total agreement with that he’s a real talent, cool headed on or off the ball he has a massive future ahead of him and hopefully all with us.

Johnny 4 Hats

He’s such a legend that underneath the Villa badge it now says in Latin “We bid for Emile Smith Rowe”.

Brady’s bunch

I thought it said in grealish we make money 🤔


I thought Villa’s moto was

‘Drake Seven, Woodcock Five.’



You know what else is impressive? That you managed to write all this before someone else posted. We’re you a courtroom clerk or something Johnny? As for ESR… what a dreamy player. One thing you didn’t mention is his instinct – he just knows where to be on and off the ball and sees so much the play unfold before him. If he adds goals to his game (10 per season range) he’s ceiling is limitless. Love the low socks – it just carries that air of quiet unassuming confidence; probably presents a target for defenders, but the trouble is… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I have an algorithm that predicts all likely posts and a team of writers who come up with suitable comments. I employ one person to just press refresh on arseblog news 14 hours a day.

It’s an expensive and time consuming endeavour. But the up votes makes it all worthwhile.


I’m picturing the family guy tooth fairy, but on a pile of upvotes instead


Yeah, that’s what I did with all those keep-faith-in-the-process comments I posted here over the past few months. But I just needed one writer, one button presser. He still feels underpaid and under-appreciated.

But I’ve got to say, the downvotes made it all worthwhile, though. 😉


We’ve had some good debates over the last 12 months and as I’ve said before I have mad respect for your optimism. I used to be way more optimistic with Arsenal even when we weren’t winning things. Making the same mistakes over and over (bad transfers, inability to sell those bad transfers and bad contracts and leaning to heavily on experience over quality) started to wear really thin though. Now we are seeing the things that make Arsenal…well Arsenal and make the team more exciting to engage with – youth is being priorities on the pitch and in the recruitment;… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Broken clock syndrome. We’re all right about everything. It’s just a matter of time.


Nice! As Hamlet says, the readiness is all!

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah but he also said “You can’t win anything with kids”.

Wrighty's hats

That’s one aspect that I’ve been enjoying in watching the most recent games with those lineups – quite a few are one-touch players, seeming to know what to do and where to pass before they’ve received the ball. It makes things so much smoother and faster. ESR used to be the only mainstay doing it (Saka does it too but arguably less frequently – he has his own stuff that he does very well) and it’s hard to get things moving when everyone else isn’t in sync. Now there’s Tomiyasu, KT, Partey, Sambi, Odegaard….. playing all together and it’s a… Read more »


My surname is Rowe and I’ve supported Arsenal for 32 years. It gives me and my 3 sons so much joy to see such a talent coming through the ranks, playing the game the way it should be played with such infectious energy with our surname on the back. I’ll be rooting for Emile his whole career.


That’s so lucky. I have to find a surname that sounds similar to mine when creating my pro in Fifa!


Lets not forget Harry Kane falling over…and his inch perfect assist for Sakas goal.


That’ll teach the fly-catching Brain of Britain to keep on scoring against us.

Karma is a fickle old girl…

Old Stimmo

Improved his assists stats this season….


He really worked for it too. He must have bust a lung getting from sitting on his arse at our end to being in position to make that assist.


If I may be a bit picky, Kane’s pass to Saka was a bit short. Saka had to work hard to get the ball out from under his body and deliver an effective shot on goal.

We all know Kane’s struggling for form at the moment. We must give him time and I’m sure he will get better at providing assists and goals for the opposition.


Already a top talent, and young.

A great chance to be an Arsenal legend, fingers crossed!

A Different George

Because he is English, Smith Rowe will have to endure the added pressure of the “unreasonable hype followed by furious denunciation” cycle. (Trent Alexander-Arnold, a very good, young fullback with excellent passing abilities and weak defensive skills was hailed as the best right back in the world, then denounced as an absolute fraud. He is neither.) Smith Rowe, ironically, has the advantage of playing for a club that is no longer quite the same centre of feverish attention as its old rivals, and of having a teammate/friend (Saka) who is a few months in front of him in the cycle,… Read more »

honda civic

My MOTM against Spurs, his first touch in the buildup to the second goal was amazing, to push the ball forward without losing any pace as he did was a thing of beauty


I love this kid.

Whereas when most players are on the ball, you can pretty much assume what they’re going to do, it doesn’t feel like this with The Smith. He’s got that dynamism and creativity we’ve been missing for so long.

Man Manny

It looks like this season is going to be ESR’s real breakthrough year. His talent and potential has been there for all to see; ut I think it is all coming together for him now.
For the first time, the team looks well stocked to aid him now.
What he needs to add to his game on a regular basis is calmness in front of goal. I believe he could have scored against Norwich and Burnley with a little more composure.
That will come with time, though… and what a player we’ll have!


I’m thrilled that it feels like there is a genuine path to the first team through the academy. I’m sure for our kids it is inspiring. ESR strikes me like a good lad who wants to be great.

Tankard Gooner

Sure, 1 more season like this and shameless barca is going to.. Oh wait.

Brady’s bunch

Episode 6 of the Amazon series will be a must see (start the series from there I’d say).


The turnaround will be the story. Do we like Arteta now then? 🙄😂


Sure. Nothing wrong with changing one’s tune. Arteta has certaintly made some necessary changes (youth and higher tempo) so I’ll change mine too and support him while he keeps this up.


Good man, me too….love the positivity x

Brady’s bunch

We’ll wait to see the season finale before we pretend we were all for the process 🤥🤫


Yep…..wait and see, but I think we all hope there is a great coach and manager in there. The transfers this year have been amazing and I admit I doubted Ramsdale, who has been a revelation

Brady’s bunch

Yeah we all want the same outcome, all transfers look to have settled in well. Could be a top side in a couple of seasons.


Would love to see the “clear the air” talk after our 3rd successive defeat. We all love a bit of drama. Whether they will show it is another thing…


Well done on downplaying the hype. Future England International for sure!


I think the timing is also important. Adding a young talent to an established team leads to thinking about what that player can achieve. Add 3 or 4 young players at the same time and the thinking switches to wondering what they can maybe achieve together as a group. The pressure is shared and the journey goes from what an individual experiences to what the group experiences. If they trust each other and get along, then success becomes a collective effort, and that can only be good in a team game. I cannot recall having so many exciting young players… Read more »


I hope ESR is a bit tougher physically than Jack Wilshere. When Wilshere came onto the scene, one of his noticeable skills was his ability to take a pass played forward to him in a crowd, on the half-turn, ending up facing forwards, and leaving the opponent in his wake. The only problem with that is he ended up getting one knock after the other, which probably led to his poor fitness record. Let’s hope that ESR isn’t so badly affected by this sort of thing, because he is going to come in for that sort of treatment.

Wrighty's hats

I agree – we want our players to have long successful careers, not beset by injuries caused by awful fouls – something midfielders in particular are at risk of. It does seem as though where Jack would run with the ball and opponents would hack him down to get it off him, ESR seems to generally release a bit faster – so he still gets tackled, but seemingly not at the same frequency as Jack did. Not a criticism but just an observation of their playing styles.

Brady’s bunch

Jacks style of play probably caused most of his injuries, as gifted a player as he was he seemed to hold the ball for that split second longer than he should have thus inviting the tackle