Emile Smith Rowe took centre stage yet again as Arsenal’s resurgence continued with a 3-0 win over Newcastle United.
Pressure was growing on manager Mikel Arteta going into the festive fixture schedule, after a wretched run of results.
The Spaniard then opted to bring in youngsters for the Boxing Day clash against Chelsea and hasn’t looked back since that 3-1 victory.
Smith Rowe in particular has shone in his early appearances in the Premier League and picked up another assist in the comfortable win over the Magpies.
Following the game, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville were effusive in their praise for the 20-year-old.
Carragher singled out the play-maker as the main man yet again for the Gunners, while Neville suggested he had the talent to shine in even the best Arsenal teams from down the years.
“You watch Emile Smith Rowe play and I agree with Jamie, you watch a lot of young players play football – particularly ones in attacking areas – and they look frantic,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“The choices are usually erratic, they don’t normally get it right, he does. He doesn’t run with the ball, he glides with the ball, he travels with it.
“He’s always at a point with it when he looks like he can release it and the real best players travel with the ball, but are always in a position where they can release it at the right moment.
“A lot of young players run with it and then have to look up and then they have to stop and then the moment is gone. He’s not, he’s connected, he’s clever.”
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Neville went on to compare Smith Rowe with Gunners legend Robert Pires, claiming he could have thrived under legendary manager Arsene Wenger.
He added: “He’s an Arsenal player that actually…and this is a big compliment to Arsene Wenger in how it impacted my mind as an opposition player for many years. The brilliant players like Robert Pires, they were so clever and intelligent.
“He could have played in old Arsenal teams the way he plays. I know he’s only played six games, yet he looks so experienced.”
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