Arsenal‘s poor start to the season is a thing to forget, but their form has improved in recent weeks due to the rise of Emile Smith-Rowe. The 20-year old’s meteoric rise has been an important factor to the Gunners’ persistence on youth, but what is the reason for such a rise?
The Rise Of Arsenal’s Emile Smith-Rowe
The Need Of The Hour
Emile Smith-Rowe‘s rise to the first-team was a result of the club’s desperate need for creativity. The lack of creativity made it hard for Arsenal to break teams down. Especially teams that sit back with a low-block. The three-time Premier League winners had a less than pleasing average expected goals of 1.0892 per game until the youngster’s debut. Since then, their average expected goals per game has risen to 1.992.
How Good Is Emile Smith-Rowe
The Englishman has been on Arsenal’s books since 2010 and was loaned to RB Leipzig, where he struggled for game-time due to his groin injury. Subsequently, he joined Championship side Huddersfield for the second half of the 2019-20 season, where he scored two goals in 19 appearances for a struggling side. At the end of the loan period, the former U-17 world cup winner still was not fully fit.
The Return To Arsenal
After the regular prolonged injuries he sustained at such a young age, he has finally burst onto the scene with the first-team in the Europa League. After having assisted or scored in three consecutive European fixtures for his club, it was just a matter of time before he called up for a premier league match.
No Aouar, No Problem
When Emile Smith-Rowe was exposed to the pressure and intensity of the English Premier League, he started the clash against London rivals Chelsea. The game happened to be the start of a turn in form for the North London side, who managed to pick up an impressive 3-1 win against the high-spending Chelsea. The young star received plaudits for his performance and instilled confidence in Mikel Arteta’s ideology of Arsenal going forward. The performance included an assist to Bukayo Saka‘s wonder goal. Since then, the attacking-midfielder has produced three-assists in five Premier League games.
Arsenal’s improvement in their average expected goals is because of increased creativity through middle offered by their youth stars. As a comparison, he has created the most chances in the Premier League since his first game back, second after Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes. As a consequence, he has two key-passes per ninety in 402 minutes of action.
A Sign Of Growth
The rise of the youngster is a sign of growth and should highlight the long-term vision of the club. The usage of youngsters often coincides with short-term inconsistencies, which should not be mistaken for failure to produce but the establishing of a new dawn at the club.
With that said, only time will tell what Emile Smith-Rowe can do.
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