Arsenal legend Tony Adams says Emile Smith Rowe was underused by manager Mikel Arteta in the second half of the campaign.
The attacking midfielder was injured up until mid-January but he has been fully fit for several months and Adams feels that Arteta should have rested other players in order to give Smith Rowe more opportunities:
“We’ve depended on Martinelli and Saka for most of the season. To give them a rest now and again. They could have given Emile a bit more air time for me. He could have subbed Martinelli and let him play off the left-hand side.”
To be fair to Arteta, it was tough to give someone like Smith Rowe the time to find his feet after a lengthy injury when you are right in the middle of a title battle.
Both Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka were in excellent form so it wasn’t at all surprising that he decided to keep faith with them.
However, Adams is right to point to the fact that Arteta ran some of his players into the ground. After the defeat to Notts Forest, the Spaniard complained about a lack of squad depth but that isn’t the full story. He simply didn’t trust the likes of Smith Rowe to deliver, which is kind of strange when you think that he scored 11 goals in all competitions last season.