Arsenal have made themselves a “sheer embarrassment” for relying on Emile Smith Rowe to conduct the team, one pundit has claimed.
The Gunners have turned a corner following a poor start to the season. In fact, manager Mikel Arteta faced intense pressure after three Premier League defeats in a row to start the season.
Since then, though, Arsenal have gone unbeaten in nine matches. What’s more, they have won seven of those games, their defence keeping six clean sheets.
At the other end, though, midfielder Smith Rowe has proved influential in their success. In the last five Premier League games, he has scored three goals and assisted two others.
The England Under-21 international put in a particularly impressive performance during a 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
However, according to Paul Parker, Arsenal should not be relying solely on a 21-year-old to drive their attack.
“Emile Smith Rowe has been the revelation and Bukayo Saka has done okay but he does not have the presence of Smith Rowe,” the pundit said (via Goal).
“It’s a sheer embarrassment that they rely on a young boy grabbing a ball in deep areas and conducting how they play all over the park.
“[Smith-Rowe] is another midfield player, who wouldn’t be satisfied being called a holding player or central attacking player or anything like that.
“He wants to be everywhere and all over the park with the ball at his feet. He wants to make runs off the ball to go and score goals or get back to defend if need be.”
Meanwhile, Parker also took aim at Arsenal’s handling of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The striker has scored four goals in nine Premier League games this season, notching seven strikes in all competitions.
However, after earning the captaincy in 2019 and a new contract in 2020, he dropped off last season. According to Parker, Arsenal have handled him wrong.
Arsenal, Aubameyang decision slammed
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struggled for the last 18 months at Borussia Dortmund with his bad-boy behaviour and he’s brought a bit of that to Arsenal,” the pundit said.
“Since they signed him, he’s been very inconsistent. They gave him the armband to pacify him.
“But the difference is, he’s not a leader of men and he got the armband maybe because of how much he cost, how much they’re paying him, and just trying to keep him sweet but he’s definitely not a leader of men.
“He’s not captain material but when you score the odd goal, people will go with it.”
Arsenal return to action on Sunday when facing Watford at the Emirates Stadium.