Arsenal: Arteta praises Smith-Rowe impact
Arsenal have their own answer to Jack Grealish after the recent impressive performances of Emile Smith Rowe. The 20-year-old has been earned rave reviews after inspiring Mikel Arteta’s side to their FA Cup win over Newcastle, following some eye-catching displays in the Premier League.
Smith Rowe came off the bench just after the hour mark on Saturday as the Gunners sought a way to break the deadlock at the Emirates.
And his introduction proved crucial as he scored Arsenal’s opener in extra time, latching on to Alexandre Lacazette’s knockdown header and drilling a fine right-footed effort across goal and in off the post.
Academy graduate Smith Rowe has now supplied a goal and two assists in Arsenal’s last four matches – all of which they have won against Chelsea, Brighton, West Brom and the Magpies.
And the playmaker has been compared to in-form Aston Villa star Grealish, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United.
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“He’s got this amazing ability of rolling players,” said former Villa and Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino on Sunday’s Weekend Sports Breakfast.
“Jack Grealish does that really well, where you can roll your one side.
“His touch takes him into his movement; his touch is so good he can just go past people with his touch at times.
“I am just watching a lad who will hopefully grow, because he really does have a lot about him.”
Arsenal legend Ian Wright also hailed Smith Rowe following Saturday’s 2-0 victory, which was sealed by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal.
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Wright said of the youngster: “He’s quality. Top drawer. He is a real player. Absolutely delighted for him.”
Praising Smith Rowe’s goal, the former Gunners striker added: “It’s what he deserved. In the first half we weren’t getting enough midfield players joining and in the box and he’s someone who does that naturally in his game.
“He’s done well there. You want a calm, composed strike on target and he’s done that.
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“He’s literally one of the only players we have in the squad who plays on the half turn in there.
“He comes into that area of the pitch, we had [Granit] Xhaka and [Mohamed] Elneny and they’re deep, they need someone in the middle of the pitch to lay it into who can link with the midfield and the forwards.
“He’s the kind of person that wants the ball in there to progress it forward. That’s what we didn’t do in the first half and in the previous games to the ones we’ve won.”
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