Smith Rowe to return as Arteta leaves four players out of Arsenal squad vs Spurs
It’s the North London Derby this afternoon (Sunday), and Arsenal are hoping to complete a Premier League double over Tottenham Hotspur for the first time since the 2013/14 season. Emile Smith Rowe is back in the squad, but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has a big decision to make for the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
The Gunners’ 3-0 FA Cup third-round success against Oxford United on Monday night marked the 22-year-old dynamic offensive midfielder’s return to duty after four months on the sidelines following surgery to finally treat a persistent groin condition.
“It was fantastic to have “He’ll be back,” Arteta stated of Smith Rowe during the Arsenal pre-match press conference on Friday. “After four months, it’s his first minutes. He fought so hard to get to where he is today, and now we need to give him more playing time since he is such a vital player for us.”
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Smith Rowe joins 22 other senior Arsenal players – listed on the club’s official website – who have climbed off the treatment table at London Colney. While the England international is unlikely to start, he appears ready to make his Premier League debut for the first time since September.
In truth, only Gabriel Jesus is a member of Arsenal’s first team. and Reiss Nelson, who are both out due to injuries. As a result, Arteta already knows two of the four players he will be missing as he attempts to accomplish the double over Antonio Conte and Tottenham this season.
Of course, now that Arsenal are back in the Premier League, the Spanish tactician can choose a 20-man matchday squad for the North London derby, but he must make a semi-difficult decision about which other first-team stars he must leave at home.
Karl Hein and, somewhat shockingly, Cedric Soares were left out of the goalless match with Newcastle United, along with Smith Rowe, Jesus, and Nelson. However, the scenario could change before the short drive to N17, as three of the The previously described quintet is available for choosing.
Having said that, based on previous decisions this season, Hein is unlikely to make the matchday squad against Tottenham. First, because Matt Turner is Aaron Ramsdale’s backup, and second, it is unusual for a team to name two goalkeepers on the bench outside of a European match.
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Meanwhile, Arteta’s words about Smith Rowe suggest that Arsenal’s number 10 will be included in the traveling group as well. Despite missing the first Premier League game of the season, as well as the previous 17 in all competitions, the 22-year-old has tended to make an Arsenal matchday squad when fit.
If this pattern continues this afternoon, he might be among the substitutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Amario Cozier-Duberry, who was chosen to the past two squads against Newcastle and Oxford, is poised to be dropped after appearing for the U21s on Friday night.
Then it’s up to Arteta to decide how daring he wants to be. Is he going to keep £3 million summer signing Marquinhos on the bench as an extra attacking option? Or does he go the safe route and call in Cedric for defensive cover? If it’s the former, suspicion about the latter will undoubtedly increase.