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Mikel Arteta heaps praise on Emile Smith Rowe saying it’s a joy to watch him

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Mikel Arteta revealed he loves watching Emile Smith Rowe following his man of the match performance against Luton at The Emirates on Wednesday night.

The midfielder was handed a rare start as Arteta rested several key players and the 23-year-old made the most of the opportunity as he showed his manager and the Arsenal faithful what he is capable of.

The academy graduate played a part in both goals as he stole the ball off Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu in the build-up to the opener and then supplied the cross that Luton defender Daiki Hashioka bundled into his own goal.

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It was a first start in two months for Smith Rowe as he played all but five minutes in the 2-0 victory which saw the Gunners return to the top of the table.

Smith Rowe a joy to watch

It’s been a difficult couple of years for Smith Rowe and the 85 minutes he completed on Wednesday night were the most he’s played in the Premier League since April 2022.

Injuries have played their part, but he’s struggled to get into the team when fit and his performance was an important reminder to Arteta of what he can offer the team.

Speaking to The Standard after the Luton game he said: “I really enjoyed myself, it has been a long time since I have started.

Smith Rowe was named man of the match in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Luton.

“It has been a tough season for me. I haven’t played as much as I would have liked.

“All season, the boys are ready to step in and put in a performance, and I think it just shows how tight we are as a team, it’s like a family.”

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Arteta was also full of praise for the 23-year-old after the Luton game and speaking in his post match press conference said: “I love him Smith Rowe as a player. It’s a joy to watch him.

“He can help with all his skills. He’s a joy to watch, he helped us a lot to win the game also today”

Smith Rowe’s return to form couldn’t be more timely as Arsenal face a crucial run of games in the title race and the Champions league.

Champions League chasing Aston Villa follow that before a trip to Germany for the second leg of their Champions League quarter final.

With the games coming thick and fast it is likely Arteta will need to call on all of his squad so Smith Rowe must be ready to take any opportunity he is given.

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