Reiss Nelson explains why Emile Smith Rowe was ‘upset’ after Arsenal win
Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe both started for Arsenal against Brentford on Wednesday evening.
Reiss Nelson scored the only goal of the game, ensuring that Arsenal progressed to the next round of the EFL Cup. The winger produced a fine all round performance, impressing with his work rate, whilst Emile Smith Rowe showed flashes of his quality.
This occasion marked Smith Rowe’s 100th first team appearance for the Gunners, and was also his first start for the north London club in 499 days.
Persistent injury issues and the form of Gabriel Martinelli, Fabio Vieira, and Leandro Trossard have seen Smith Rowe fall down the pecking order at Arsenal. However, the £40,000-a-week 23-year-old had a chance to impress Mikel Arteta against the Bees.
Overall, the attacking midfielder ought to be happy with his performance, but he will be gutted not to have gotten on the scoresheet. Some excellent movement and close control in the first half saw him find some space in the Brentford box, but his shot couldn’t beat goalkeeper Mark Flekken.
Speaking after the match, Reiss Nelson reflected on this moment and how his fellow Hale End academy graduate fared overall. As quoted by the club’s official website, he said, “I know he’s going to be upset because he done a nice bit of trickery in the box and should’ve scored a hundred percent, but he’s a great player, great lad and one of the best players I’ve played with, been through the whole rankings with him, so congrats on your 100th game mate.”
Minutes are what matters most for both Nelson and Smith Rowe now. The pair face a tough task in getting regular game time throughout this campaign, given the quality of Arsenal’s regular starters. However, they need to be ready to impress in the event of suspensions or injury.
If Smith Rowe can get back to his best, and maintain his fitness, then the three-cap England international can still be a star at the Emirates Stadium. He is a fan favourite, and has so much natural talent. He now needs to build on this performance and make sure he’s doing all he can to push for a greater level of Premier League involvement.