Saturday, June 22, 2024

Arteta: Smith Rowe knows we love him, he must prove he can contribute

When Emile Smith Rowe returned to first team training following groin surgery, he will have been hoping to make a big impact on Arsenal’s season. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really worked out that way.

90 minutes of football across three competitions since the turn of the year represents slim pickings for the England international who has had to contend with rustiness, a minor injury setback and the good form of his teammates, who in his absence have made themselves nearly undroppable.

After such a stop-start 2022, it’s easy to forget how important the midfielder was to Arsenal’s early renaissance under Mikel Arteta and the form he produced to earn himself a new deal and the club’s famous number 10 shirt.

The worry is that while Smith Rowe continues to feed off scraps, his confidence takes a bashing and we struggle to get him back to where he was. As such, Arteta faces something of a balancing act in his treatment of the 22-year-old.

Clearly, he needs to put an arm around the shoulder of his young star while also challenging him to meet the required standards on the training pitch to earn more minutes.

“He knows how much we love him and he knows how much we missed him and how much we need his qualities,” the boss told the press ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon.

“Now he needs to prove it, he needs to prove how much he wants to win, how much he’s going to contribute to this team to be better and to win. He’s going to have to show that to get in the team.”

For the moment, it seems as though concerns about the player’s fitness continue to linger.

“I think we have to manage his load but for sure he’s in a position where we can throw him in the team in any moment. Then it’s about, how he’s coping with the game in general and whether to take him off or whether to use him for the last few minutes of the game.”

Smith Rowe didn’t get off the bench for last week’s first leg 2-2 draw in Lisbon. With players returning from injury and illness, he faces an even taller order to get on the pitch at the Emirates.

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Johnny 4 Hats

All this noise about ESR is crazy. I don’t know where it’s coming from that he’s available this summer. When fit, the boy is on a par with anyone in our team.

He’s a match winning, goal scoring midfielder that produces whether on the bench or in the starting XI. And Arteta owes him a lot for what he did in December ‘21.

I predict a big 2023/24 for Emile. The boy is dynamite.


Just needs to stay away from injuries for a while and he‘ll contribute bog time. Absolutely no doubt about that.

Scott P

If he can do that, he’ll stand a good chance of contributing to a re-peat of our title winning heroics!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

He is certainly better than Mud-ryk.

Johnny 4 Hats

Tottenham are shit.

Inspector norse

Shit is actually quite useful, i can’t see tottenham reaching the high standards of shit to be honest.


I have a sneaky feeling that Arteta is eyeing him up as a Xhaka replacement in the no. 8 role.
I think he’s got the physicality to do it, and certainly the late runs into the box. Question marks on the defensive side, but I’d hope it can be taught to a sufficient level.
A few places have said that’s where he’s been training since returning so it’d make sense.
Partey sat behind a front five (effectively) of Odegaard, ESR, Saka, Martinelli and Jesus is filthy.


That Boxing Day 2020 game at home to Chelsea was the day the Arteta revival began. A 3-1 win that we desperately needed to get us away from the relegation zone. Pre game, Smith Rowe and Saka were effectively both a last throw of the dice gamble – unthinkable as it now is, Arteta was arguably three bad game results away from what surely would have been the sack. But we won the game, Lacazette, Xhaka and Saka got the goals and Leno saved a Jorginho penalty. Saka and ESR were both superb and the clubs fortunes, not withstanding the… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Was it really 2020?

God. Yeah. Of course.

Time, eh?


We were back into lockdown that Christmas – there were no fans at the game.


I miss the saka xhaka laca word connection


Tbh, what we really need is Mart Poom and Lacazette back


Arteta dishing some tough love!

Walter White

Imagine him in the 8 position, with his goal contribution qualities. Could be amazing.


He obviously wouldn’t have the same goal contribution from that position unless he neglected the defensive duties that position requires. But still would probably be 2-3 goals a season better than Xhaka. And he has other qualities that make him really interesting there, with his athleticism and technical qualities I can almost imagine something similar to WC-winning-era Pogba (maybe without the areal dominance)

Santi's Little Helper

I’m a big fan of his. But I don’t really see him playing the same role as Xhaka. Arteta could (and probably will!) reinvent that role, but he doesn’t have the same distribution as Xhaka, hasn’t shown the same tackling/defensive ability, and isn’t left footed. Imagine ESR dropping to left back to cover for Zinchenko and in the build up. Just doesn’t seem like a good fit for him. He’ll play further forward, and could do a job for MØ or some kind of different variation IMO.


Fair points. Actually before all the recent chat about him being groomed for the no. 8 position I really imagined he could be a good no. 9 for how Arsenal like to play, he’s got that great acceleration from standstill when fully fit and obviously the finishing, and he’s pretty strong.


It’s the media. They hate Arsenal.
Member when Villa thought they could buy him? All amplified by the media.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Arteta wouldn’t be at the club without that boy’s performance in that Chelsea game. As you say, the manager is indebted to him and ESR will get his time from Arteta as Arteta got his from ESR.


Young Arsenal Hale End lad, 10 PL goals last season, will improve and challenge the squad once fit.

Hope that happens sooner than later and we keep him for all his career.


He will get there. Love ESR!


For doubters, people need to understand that he was out for so long with the injury he had. It’s good that we have better backups that will also help ESR to get in the starting 11 with patience and better fitness. He will definitely get to his best again, it’s just the fans need to have some patience and keep supporting him.


Even if he doesn’t get back to his best this season it, he will absolutely be needed for this squad next season when we will be going for everything.


My only worry is it will get crowded in our attacking positions. Saka, Jesus, Leandro, Gabi aren’t going anywhere. There’s Eddie, Flo, ESR, Reiss, Marquinhos which who knows where he fits in, another loan? I want to keep all our academy boys. If we do and plan to use them next season is there room on the front 3 for another signing? It definitely seems like they want another signing there. If so I think someone has to go and I’m glad I don’t have to decide. Brutal decision!


I think this year since Jesus got injured has shown that we don’t need another signing up top. We have a first choice of Martinelli, Jesus and Saka, and then we have Trossard, ESR and/ or Eddie as backup that has kept pace at the top. Where would you sign someone? At RW? Backup for Saka, when ESR, Trossard, Reiss and Viera can all play in that position. Striker, as backup for Jesus when we have at least Trossard and Eddie, and also a few false 9s to do that job. LW is packed as well. Possibly the first team… Read more »


Agree completely. Would it be nice with a new shiny striker up front? Sure. There’s always room for improvement. But we don’t “need” a new striker – we have a massive level up front, and we can improve and raise our “bottom level” more in other areas, like you say.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

We need 6 forwards next season to compete in CL without too much drop off as squad rotates. Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard, and Flo would be the one’s I keep, as they are all interchangeable across the top. Decision time for Eddie and Reiss on that final spot. ESR is destined to be an 8. We are missing that late runner in the box, a la Ramsey, that ESR does really well. I don’t think ESR will be competing for one of those forward slots, we want and need goal production from our 8’s. Odegaard gives us goals this year… Read more »


Apart from anything else the song means he can’t possibly leave.

Man Manny

I’d grief like a close friend died if ESR is sold.

Naked Cygan

I am not worried about ESR. There will be plenty of big games for him to play once we have to play CL and Premier League next season. The key will be for him to stay fit and have a solid pre-season. He still has a big roll to play from the bench this season. I honestly can’t see anyone getting dropped with the way we are playing.


Hey guys, remember when we thought Arteta hates Martinelli?

There we go.


Not a winger, Odegaard is cemented in his favoured position now will have to play 2nd fiddle to him, false 9 or super sub sacrificing a defensive midfielder for nicking a goal.

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