After Emile Smith Rowe’s brilliant performance against Qarabag FK, Gunners around the world heaved a sigh of relief; maybe selling Jack Wilshere wasn’t a bad decision after all. [su_divider top=”no” divider_color=”#e10115″ link_color=”#d00607″ size=”1″ margin=”10″]
Over the last decade, Arsenal’s academy has produced several exciting talents who have broken into the first team squad amid a flurry of hype and expectation. However, very few of them have hit the expected heights. The likes of Chuba Akpom, Jeff Reine Adelaide and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have all come and gone, and Gunners have been underwhelmed by the lack of progress in this department. However, there is a new name on the lips of Arsenal fans with the emergence of exciting midfielder- Emile Smith Rowe.
Emile Smith Rowe burst onto the scene this summer and has quickly become a fan favourite at the Emirates. On October 4th, he became the first player born in the year 2000 to score a competitive goal for Arsenal and was promptly praised by Unai Emery. It was a wonderful finish to put us 2-0 up against Qarabag in the Europa League. Gliding down the right-hand side, he was able to collect a pass from Alex Iwobi and provide a stylish finish which helped put Arsenal in complete control of the potentially-tricky tie in Baku.
The 18-year old has seemingly taken the step up in his stride and is displaying a lot of maturity. He hasn’t been overwhelmed by training with the first team squad, and his work-rate and energy have helped him forge his way into Emery’s plans. He appears to be humble and has been able to keep his feet on the ground so far despite his sudden rise to fame.
The Croydon-born midfielder helped our Arsenal side preserve their eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions and there are currently plenty of positives in North London. Since losing to Chelsea and Manchester City, the Gunners have won their subsequent five Premier League games including overcoming tricky tests against Watford and Everton. It leaves us sitting fourth in the table and while we aren’t likely to challenge for the title this season, a return to the top four is highly likely. Manchester City still lead the way in the Premier League outright odds and can be backed at 1.73 on Betfair Exchange but, Unai Emery will feel confident of returning to the Champions League spots this campaign, giving the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool a run for their money. There is a winning mentality under the new coach and the players are clearly enjoying the new regime.
Smith-Rowe will need to prove that he isn’t a one-season wonder and he also needs to be managed carefully by Unai. He isn’t likely to start too many Premier League games soon although he could feature in the Carabao Cup fixture against Blackpool at the end of October. A hectic December fixture list and the start of the FA Cup may also provide some minutes on the pitch for the youngster.
There is little doubt that Arsenal have unearthed and developed an exceptional talent who looks capable of becoming a Premier League regular in the future. Gunners are rightly excited by the prospect of an academy player stepping up and performing to a high standard week in, week out. The attacking midfielder will get supporters on their feet and, luckily for them, there is still plenty more to come from Emile Smith Rowe.