Is Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal’s successor to Mesut Ozil?

This week Mesut Ozil has made his much-anticipated departure from the club in a move to Fenerbahce.

Symbolically vacating the number 10 jersey naturally brings attention to the fact that the role of a traditional number 10 has been vacant for longer than just this week. 

Emile Smith Rowe has had limited chances in cup competitions to show what he can do but in the last five games in the Premier League, the 20-year-old has shown that he could be the number 10 that Arsenal have been needing all along.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal scores their team’s first goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January 09, 2021 in London, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY JULIAN FINNEY/GETTY IMAGES.

In the last five Premier League games, ESR has laid on three assists, and a crucial goal against Newcastle to ensure progression to the FA Cup Fourth Round. 

To put those stats into perspective Kai Havertz, another exciting attacking midfielder in his early 20s has had 16 Premier league appearances so far this season only scoring one goal and only providing two assists.

Comparing him to another attacking midfielder, maybe more importantly for Arsenal fans, Ozil only managed to get 4 assists over 42 appearances spanning the 18/19 and 19/20 seasons.

ESR has a work ethic that Arsenal fans have been desperate for.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 03: (L) Emile Smith Rowe celebrates scoring the 4th Arsenal goal with (R) Ainsley Maitland-Niles during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Rapid Wien at Emirates Stadium on December 03, 2020 in London, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY STUART MACFARLANE/ARSENAL FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Since Arteta took over, we have seen that he demands 100% from the players at all times which can be seen especially watching the likes of Tierney, Saka and Smith Rowe.

It’s not only refreshing for the fans to see players put in this level of effort but also to have the ability to back it up. All three ESR assists have found Saka making them the youngest English pair to combine for three goals in Premier League history. 

Currently sitting at an 84% pass success rate and seemingly improving with each game, he is a homegrown player that Arsenal have needed. ESR is on the verge of signing a 5-year contract extension and it shows that he plans to have a future at the club and allows fans to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the club has a capable talent that can take the club back to familiar heights.

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