Emile Smith Rowe came away with his second goal of the season for Arsenal after beating Aston Villa – and he may have had Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher to thank
The England Under-21 international was in fine form, setting up the opener for Thomas Partey to head home after a teasing delivery from his corner.
After seeing Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang double the lead when scoring from the rebound of his saved penalty, it was Smith Rowe’s chance to get in on the act.
The 21-year-old broke forward on the counter attack and struck a side-footed effort which appeared to be heading on target before it took a wicked deflection and clipped the post on its way in past Emiliano Martinez.
It came after his interview with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher before the match, where the attacking midfielder admitted he wanted to score more goals for Arsenal after managing only three in all competitions last season.
After being presented with the man of the match award, presenter Kelly Cates said: “Congratulations on the win, Carra [Jamie Carragher] asked you before the game are you looking to add more goals to your game… that’s one way to answer him.
“Definitely man, it gave me the belief today,” Smith Rowe replied, turning in Carragher’s direction.
The former Reds star Carragher then cheekily asked: ”Do I get an assist for that?”
Smith Rowe, with a light chuckle, gave in to the 44-year-old’s demands, responding: “Yeah, I’ll give you the assist for that.
“But honestly, I’ve been working so hard in training and stuff.
“I feel you need that luck sometimes, it was a bit of a deflection but I’ll take it.”
It was Smith Rowe’s second goal of the season and it capped an all-round superb display as the youngster demonstrated why the club were so keen to tie him down to a long-term contract over the summer.
Where will Arsenal finish in the Premier League this season? Comment below.
The youngster revealed he has been going through individual exercises to improve his finishing in training with the club’s coaches and wants to improve his goal tally.
“It’s always a goal for me to get some goals and assists, but I have been working quite hard in training with all the coaches and staff so it’s something I really want to work on this season,” he told Sky Sports before the game.
“At home, we have all our fans with us here and they always help up every game so it’s really important they get behind us tonight and hopefully we can get the three points for them.”
Carragher agreed, adding that after showing promise with his technical ability, turning his chances into goals would be the next stage in his development.
“He has [been a bright spark for Arsenal] but not just for Arsenal, for us two we love watching him,” he said of Smith Rowe.
“He excites you, he can play different positions, he can play off both feet. Great energy and pace as well but when I asked him about scoring three Premier League goals that is something he is going to have to improve on as his career goes forward.
“He’s still young and that will come with maturity you hope but there’s no doubt he has the ability.
“You don’t ever want to be labeled as one of those players who are really good technically, pleasing on the eye, but there’s no real end product.
“I think that’s the next step for him to take in his game.”