Mikel Arteta has hinted that there could be a role for Emile Smith Rowe up front this weekend, with Alexandre Lacazette struggling to be ready in time.
Lacazette may not be available this weekend due to illness, so Arteta is assessing his options. Smith Rowe played as a false nine against Villareal in the Europa League last season, but Arteta hasn’t selected him in this position since.
“He’s not been completely fit to be training and playing every game, but it’s a possibility,” said Arteta, when asked if Smith Rowe could play in this role this weekend, as reported by Metro.
Although playing Smith Rowe in this role isn’t exactly ideal, Arteta is left with limited options in forward positions. The only other recognised senior striker in the squad is Eddie Nketiah, who is set to leave at the end of the season.
Failure to sign a centre forward may come back to bite Arsenal in their push for top four. Tottenham recruited well in January, and are currently reaping the rewards.
Many clubs tend to avoid signing players in January, but if you’re willing to let Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang go and not replace him, you only have yourselves to blame if one of your strikers gets injured.