Tag Archives: emile smith rowe

Emile Smith Rowe Easter Eggs

This will be geekish but did anyone else spot the Easter eggs in the Emile Smith Rowe contract announcement?

Firstly we have the new number announcement. Number 10.

This announcement was made on the anniversary of Arsenal’s last great number 10’s testimonial game – Dennis Bergkamp.

Not only was it the number, but look at the length of the video.

32 seconds.

Smith Rowe’s old number? 32.

It will mean nothing to most and the majority won’t care. But stuff like that I love.

Have a good day.

Keenos

Despite Emile Smith Rowe’s performance, Arsenal still need to BUY to replace Mesut Ozil

Yesterday we spoke a little about Emile Smith Rowe’s development, and continuing down that line, I would like to expand on some thoughts.

Smith Rowe has been fantastic since coming into the Arsenal team against Chelsea on Boxing Day.

He has now started the last 5 league  games in row, with Arsenal winning 4. He also came off the bench to score the winner against Newcastle in the FA Cup.

But it is important that we do not overhype him.

Despite his performances, we should be careful not to label him as the successor to Mesut Ozil as Arsenal’s number 10 or “the next Kevin de Bruyne”.

Ozil was a world class performer for Arsenal – albeit he had not performed to that level for a few years. Whilst Smith Rowe is a young kid with half a dozen Premier League starts to his name.

What Edu, Mikel Arteta and the recruitment team need to do is add an experienced head alongside Smith Rowe in the squad – and no, I am not talking about Willian “experience”.

I had a blog in my drafts about how Arsenal should be looking to sign both Julian Brandt and Emi Buendía to replace Ozil; giving Arteta 2 options at 10.

The saving in Ozil’s wages along would be enough to finance a move for both layers, covering salaries and amortised transfer fees.

That blog is now scrapped as I believe Smith Rowe has shown enough that he should be back up 10 next season.

This would not only save Arsenal money but would also save us a non-home grown player squad space. Smith Rowe is home grown, Brandt and Buendía not.

So we have Smith Rowe as one option as 10 and go out and sign either Brandt or Buendía (not both) to be the senior man.

This is not saying that Smith Rowe is not good enough; more that at 20, he still needs to improve to reach the level of Ozil. He is not yet at the level of Brandt.

My feeling is it should be Brandt ahead of Buendía. The German is the superior player.

This would then give Arteta the option of Brandt or Smith Rowe as a 10.

What is exciting about both (and Buendía) is their versatility. All 3 men can play in the middle, left or right of the 3.

One of Ozil’s great attributes was his ability to drift across the pitch and find space. He did not just stay central and would be a creative outlet throughout the final 3rd.

When he drifted to the wide positions, it then gave space in the middle for Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla or Alexis Sanchez to fill. This concept is something that Arteta needs to build on.

The 3 behind the striker should be interchangeable. All capable of playing left, right and centre. That way it creates fluidity behind the leading striker and allows us to create 2 or even 3 on ones outwide.

We have already seen the benefit when Smith Rowe drifts left, teaming up with Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to overload that side. Likewise with Saka and Bellerin on the right.

A fluid 3 behind a striker also makes us a lot harder to defend.

Saka, for example, has very different attributes to Brandt. A full back would have to switch up his game plan as the two interchange positions.

I am sure one of the reasons Willian was signed was due to his versatility behind the front man.

Smith Rowe is equally as versatile as Willian. His performances do make you further question why we gave the Brazilian a 3 year deal.

My feeling is Arteta had just not seen enough of Smith Rowe – he was out on loan for the 2nd half of last season and he started this season with a shoulder injury.

Smith Rowe might not yet be ready to fill Ozil’s shoes, but he has shown that he has a future at Arsenal and will be a key member of the first team squad for the next 18 months.

We just need to add a senior man alongside him.

Brandt rather than Buendía.

Keenos

The Arsenal youngsters who will break through in 2019/20

Only Fulham gave more minutes to teenagers this season than Arsenal.

This would be a surprise to some of Unai Emery’s critics who have moaned that he has not given youth enough of a chance this season.

The figures are misleading, however, as the majority of those minutes were played by a single play, Matteo Guendouzi.

The only other 3 teenagers to get game time this season played a grand total of 134 minutes between them.

Whilst Emery has not given academy graduates much game time in the league, there have been plenty of minutes handed out in the cups.

Against Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League, there were 9 academy graduates in the match day squad, many of whom were local lads.

Arsenal finished 2nd in the Premier League 2, following up from being champions last season. The U18 team topped the Southern Division, before losing the final to Derby.

The Arsenal Academy is certainly in good health, even if not too many got their chance this season. Against Burnley we saw Joe Willock get a start, and Eddie Nketiah come off the bench and score.

Here we analyise what to expect from some of the best and brightest youngsters next season.

Reiss Nelson – After an exciting start on loan at Hoffenheim, Reiss Nelson’s form dropped off after the Bundesliga winter break. Discipline problems led him to fall out of favour and he ended up spending most of the season coming off the bench.

Nelson is clearly a talented kid, and a few fans got a little too excited over his performances in Germany – even calling for him to return to Arsenal in January and be parachuted straight into the first team.

He is probably still some way from being a first team regular at Arsenal; remember he could not break into the Hoffenheim XI with just 5 starts.

His development will continue at Arsenal next season where he likely to play a similar role that he did at Hoffenheim. Cameo roles off the bench. As the season progresses, he will get more game time, especially if he put sin some solid performances in the League Cup.

Eddie Nketiah – With Danny Welbeck leaving, Nketiah will find himself as 3rd choice striker between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Alexandre Lacazette.

If Emery decides to play with a 2 up top, Nketiah will the sole striker on the bench.

He does not have much time to break in to the Arsenal first team squad as Tyreece John-Jules will be itching for game time.

The one to watch out for is Folarin Balogun. The 17-year-old striker scored 25 goals in 18 games in the U18 league and at some point, he will be pushing for the game time in the cups that Nketiah craves.

For next season, Nketiah will be 3rd choice striker with John-Jules likely to go on loan and Balogun to be promoted to the U23 team.

Emile Smith Rowe – Like Nelson, Smith Rowe has been on loan in Germany, joining RB Leipzig in January. Injury has restricted him to a couple of fleeting substitute appearances lasting barely a minute.

The feeling is that he is likely to remain at Leipzig next season.

He was injured prior to going to Germany, so the logical reason for him leaving Arsenal was to spend a few months acclimatizing to a new country and living on his own. Still just 18-years-old; a year playing in Germany will see him return for 2020/21 with real chances to break into the first team squad.

Joe Willock – A year ago Willock’s future at Arsenal looked bleak. He struggled to make an impact in his Europa League appearances and the feeling was that he would not make it.

This season he has kicked on and reinvented himself as a goal scoring central midfielder. He grabbed himself 3 senior goals in the cups.

Willock turns 20 in August so has missed the window for a season long loan deal. He will be promoted to the 1st team squad, where he will provide cover for all 3 positions behind the striker and give Emery a 5th central midfield option.

The feeling is he could be a contender to be Aaron Ramsey’s replacement in the long term.

Xavier Amaechi – Next in line after Reiss Nelson in Arsenal’s stable of young, fast wingers is Amaechi. The 18-year-old saw his progress restricted this season due to injury.

Due to the injury, he has lost about 6 months of development meaning he is probably not yet ready for first team football on loan. Expect him to be ripping up the U23 league next season.

Bukayo Saka – Amaechi’s loss was Saka’s gain as the talented youngster stepped up from the U18’s to the U23’s to replace his elder team mate. Performances at this level saw him get his chance in the first team, making 4 senior appearances in total.

Like with Nelson, some have gone a bit OTT with Saka, already calling him to make regular first team starts next season. One Tweeter went as far as to say that we did not need to sign a winger for next season such is his talent.

There is no doubt Saka is talented, but there is a huge step up from U18 & U23 to the senior side.

He is still just 17-years-old so it is important that we do not rush his development.

Saka has probably now jumped ahead of Amaechi in the pecking order and could well find himself as 5th choice winger next season (behind a new signing, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Nelson).

His star could shine the brightest of the lot.

Keenos