Mikel Arteta appears to have shown a masterstroke in his decision to leave Emile Smith Rowe in Arsenal’s starting lineup for Saturday night’s emphatic 4-0 win against West Brom.
Smith Rowe, who notched a brilliantly-worked assist for Bukayo Saka’s goal, actually stunned the Midlands outfit less than six months ago whilst he was out on loan at Huddersfield last season.
As most followers of both Premier League and Championship football will have noticed, myself all too well as an Albion fan, the Baggies made very few changes to the side that won promotion.
Smith Rowe’s outing last night saw him feature against an Albion side that was largely the same as the one that he upset in the summer, looking back after the 4-0 rout it’s clear he made use of this fact.
Perhaps Mikel Arteta had this in mind before his team selection too, signalling that the Spaniard certainly kept a close eye on the Arsenal academy graduate’s performances whilst he was out on loan.
Considering that the 20-year-old dealt with some injury trouble in the early stages of this season and the fact that he’d saw minimal action – in the respectfully less important cup competitions – before his Boxing Day breakthrough into the side, it’s fair to assume that he could’ve even been rested last night.
Whilst the England youth international has been well rested enough to start three games in the space of six days, given Arsenal’s woes when it comes to injuries, it could’ve been seen as a surprise that he featured from the get-go against the Baggies on Saturday.
Smith Rowe upset the Albion in July, effectively ending their hopes of automatic promotion were it not for Brentford squandering their chances to capitalise, he’s now also played a key role in a victory that highlighted once more that the side Sam Allardyce recently took charge of our resigned to relegation.
Arteta and the Arsenal coaching team haven’t seen any credit for this decision after the massive win which propelled the Gunners up the table and away from some pressure, so here we are…