Make no mistake about it, Emile Smith-Rowe will be a big part of Arsenal’s future
Emile Smith-Rowe spent the past season with Huddersfield Town in the Championship on loan. The 20-year-old didn’t exactly have a breakout season with the terriers, however, he had one promising enough to portray the fact that he can and should have a future at Mikel Arteta‘s Arsenal.
In 32 appearances he managed 3 goals and 7 assists in all competitions, playing primarily as a central midfielder. He was also used an attacking midfielder and on both flanks as well, but central midfield was where he was awarded the most game time.
Many including myself believe that Arteta will opt for a 4-3-3 flat formation rather than a more traditional 4-2-3-1. In the latter, a traditional number 10 is deployed and expected to create chances. Behind the number 10 tends to be a box-to-box midfielder next to a defensive-minded one to have balance.
Emile Smith-Rowe will be a versatile player for Arsenal
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However, that formation is starting to look to be thing of the past and the new wave is the 4-3-3 flat which is used by many great managers like Jurgen Klopp and Arteta’s former boss, Pep Guardiola.
Said formation typically has two mezallas, who are responsible for chance creations out wide while also helping out to maintain possession on the attacking end of the field and even helping on the defensive end of the pitch too.
Behind the two mezzalas tends to be a regista. A player who is more defensively savvy, but possesses a good deal of talent in terms of ball progression. In my opinion, Smith-Rowe is an ideal candidate to fill the mezzala role.
The 20-year-old has seen himself caught between two positions; winger and central midfield. Ironically, if one combines those two aforementioned roles into one, a mezzala is the product created.
Smith-Rowe has enough creativity in his locker to be a tremendous creator and too much industriousness in his game to be shoehorned into a traditional number 10 position. The tenacious, English youngster would be a perfect attacking avenue in an Arteta system and I have no doubt that the former Manchester City number two would absolutely love to have a player like him at his disposal.
The rumors circulating have indicated that Smith-Rowe may in fact have a future at the club, so maybe Arteta feels the same way as I do. If he was awarded the mezzala role at the club and a more experienced player like Willian, whose signing looks highly likely was on the other side, that would be a decently threatening set of attacking midfielders, especially compared to the ones at the club last season.
Given his attributes and the calling for a player like Smith-Rowe in the modern game, the man who idolizes the most potent mezzala there is, Kevin De Bruyne, should be given a crack at the whip. The 20-year-old looks as though he has a future at Arsenal, let’s hope it’s a fruitful one.