International Soccer

Mikel Arteta shares ‘love’ for Emile Smith Rowe after Luton victory

Mikel Arteta has branded Emile Smith Rowe a ‘joy to watch’ as Arsenal rise to the top of the Premier League after defeating Luton Town at the Emirates.

Smith Rowe was handed a rare start as the Gunners hosted the Hatters in a midweek Premier League clash. A goal from captain Martin Odegaard and a pass into his own net from Luton’s Daiki Hashioka put Arteta’s side 2-0 up, but it was the performance of midfielder Smith Rowe that really caught his eye.

Making just his 11th league appearance this season, Smith Rowe played 85 minutes against Luton and earned the player of the match award for his showing.

When asked what the performance will do for the 23-year-old’s confidence, Arteta said: “A lot. I love him as a player, he is a joy to watch. How he moves, changes direction and how physical he was today without the ball.

“He went into duels and won a lot of them and was thinking with that killer instinct to play forward and make things happen. When Emile is in that moment, it’s very difficult to stop him. He helped us a lot to win the game.”

Gabriel Magalhaes, Emile Smith Rowe

Arsenal recorded a 2-0 victory over Luton town on Wednesday / Catherine Ivill – AMA/GettyImages

The Hale End graduate played a part in both goals against Luton and was quick to credit the ‘family’ that the Arsenal team has become.

Speaking to club media after being awarded player of the match, he said: “It’s been a really tough season for me and some of the other players haven’t played as much as we’d have liked to. It’s important that we came in tonight and put in a performance to show the manager that we can be a part of this team.

“All season, the boys are ready to step in and put in a performance and I think it just shows how tight we are as a team – it’s like a family. We’re really happy that players can come in and still perform. That’s what it’s about, the strength in depth is really good.”

Smith Rowe recorded the most minutes he’s played in a league match since April 2022, and admitted that he was disappointed that he couldn’t mark the outing with a goal:

“I’m a bit disappointed I couldn’t get a goal because it’s been so long, but I’m really happy with being part of two goals. I’m really happy with my performance and minutes, so let’s see what’s next.”

Arsenal will return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to Brighton & Hove Albion, before preparing for their huge Champions League quarter-final clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

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