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Mikel Arteta has two options for Emile Smith Rowe with Arsenal stars to miss Everton clash



Arsenal’s game in hand sees them welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium tonight (Wednesday) with the chance to open up a five point lead at the top of the Premier League table
Mikel Arteta On Emile Smith Rowe & Jakub Kiwior Featuring For The U21’s

Emile Smith Rowe has moved another step closer to making his return to Arsenal first-team action after playing one half for the U21s against Chelsea on Monday evening.….CONTINUE READING

It was the attacking midfielder’s first taste of action across any level since a cameo appearance off the bench in the North London Derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur six weeks ago as a subsequent minor thigh strain saw him miss the reverse fixture against Everton, the draw at home to Brentford and both Manchester City games.

Upon returning to the Gunners’ matchday squad for the 4-2 win over Aston Villa last month, Smith Rowe remained an unused substitute and this was once again the case at the weekend at Leicester City as a slender one-goal lead ultimately meant Mikel Arteta opted for defensive reinforcements instead.

As a result, a decision was made for the 22-year-old to get some minutes into his legs ahead of Wednesday night’s Premier League clash against Everton as he was named in the Arsenal U21’s starting line-up – alongside January signing Jakub Kiwior – against their Chelsea counterparts.

The good news is that Smith Rowe, and Kiwior, came through the first-half unscathed before being replaced at half-time in a pre-planned double change to hand Arteta a welcome fitness boost ahead of a hectic period for the Gunners in which they will be in action six days in 18 days across two competitions.

“Really good. Obviously, they needed some minutes and at the moment they haven’t had much exposure for different situations,” the Spaniard said in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday morning. “It was great to see them on the field because we’re going to need them in the next couple of games.”

Now, it’s likely that Kiwior will have to wait a while longer to make his competitive Arsenal debut. Meanwhile, as for Smith Rowe, the fact started on Monday effectively guarantees he won’t be repeating the trick against Everton considering the short turnaround, his injury record this season and a lack of match sharpness.

Therefore, assuming the Gunners no.10 doesn’t suffer a setback, he should be fine to take his place amongst the substitutes in the hope of adding to his 62 minutes of competitive action across all competitions so far this season and making his first appearance at the Emirates Stadium since August.

Alternatively, Smith Rowe could be among the four senior stars – alongside Gabriel Jesus, Mohamed Elneny and Karl Hein – to miss the Everton clash as per Premier League rules regarding a 20-man matchday squad if Arteta decides to keep the midfielder fresh for upcoming games against Bournemouth and Sporting CP.

This particular scenario could see Reiss Nelson return to the squad after he made way for the returning Thomas Partey against Leicester.

But when Smith Rowe is back playing regularly for Arsenal, his ability to operate centrally and out wide will increase Arteta’s attacking options: “He can do a bit of both, depending on the game plan and the couples and the units that we use in that left side,” the Spaniard previously said. “If you ask me where I see Emile really contributing at his best, for me it is in that attacking midfield position.”….CONTINUE READING

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