Emile Smith Rowe

Arsenal defeated Luton Town at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening to go top of the Premier League table with a point ahead of Liverpool for the next 24 hours at least. The Gunners managed another impressive win at home this season with a 2-nil victory over their opponents, meaning they’ve completed a double against Luton town this season. 

In what was quite a comfortable win for Arsenal, they looked likely to score from the very first minute. Despite making five changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Manchester City on Sunday, the hosts looked sharp in the first half.

Notably, it was a standout performance by one of the club’s academy graduates that had been pivotal in the club’s win, Emile Smith Rowe played a starring role in only his second league start since October. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Smith Rowe both had early half-chances blocked by the desperate Luton defence, but the visitors were powerless to stop Arsenal from cutting through them on 24 minutes. 

Smith Rowe won the ball and Kai Havertz played in skipper, Martin Ødegaard, for a sumptuous first-time finish into the bottom corner. Smith Rowe and Havertz both forced close-range saves from Thomas Kaminski as Arsenal turned the screw, eventually getting their second goal when Daiki Hashioka deflected Smith Rowe’s cutback into his own net.

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 The England International, a graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End academy alongside teammates Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson, had only recently returned to the team sheet after his football career had been put on hold due to several injuries.

The Arsenal number 10 was voted Man of The Match for his performance as he contributed massively to the two first-half goals. The 23-year-old was then substituted in the 85th minute of the game after registering two attempts (one on target), 55 touches, 39 passes and 2 key passes.

Smith Rowe had a total of 12 goal involvements in the 2021/22 season and reminded the Emirates crowd what a talent he is and how important he could be to the team in the Premier League title run-in. Mikel Arteta also opined this performance will improve the player’s confidence following his struggles behind the scenes: 

“I think a lot. I love him as a player. It’s a joy to watch him, how he moves, how he changes direction, how physical he was today as well without the ball. He won a lot of duels and he was thinking with that killer instinct to play forward and to make things happen and when Emile is in that moment it’s very difficult to stop him. Today he helped us a lot to win the game.”

Arsenal have now continued their unbeaten run in 2024 with nine wins and a draw while scoring 35 goals, conceding four and keeping six clean sheets, the best defensive record in the league.

A win for Liverpool against Sheffield United can however see the North London club drop to second position, but the pressure is far from off with Manchester City still in close pursuit in third place with eight more games to go.

This has truly turned out to be an intriguing three-horse title race and possibly the best in recent years as the pressure grows and the winner is still far from being decided.


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