Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta explains the decision to bring off Emile Smith Rowe late in the second half after bringing him on in the first half.
Smith Rowe, a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, was brought on to replace Leandro Trossard, who suffered an injury in the 22nd minute. The young winger played well and showed glimpses of his potential, but was taken off in the second half, with Reiss Nelson coming on in his place.
Arteta explained his decision after the game, saying that he didn’t plan to play Smith Rowe for such a long time, as the player had been out of action for nearly five months. The manager felt that the winger had a good impact on the game, but he needed to bring on a different type of player to provide more threat on the left.
The substitution turned out to be a masterstroke, as Nelson came on and provided the assist for the winning goal deep into stoppage time. Arteta’s decision to bring on Nelson instead of keeping Smith Rowe on the pitch could be seen as a brave move, but it paid off in the end.
However, the victory came at a cost, as Trossard’s injury has added to Arteta’s worries about his options at striker, with Eddie Nketiah also missing the game due to injury. The manager will have to assess the situation and come up with a plan to address the issue before Arsenal’s next game.
Arteta’s decision to substitute Smith Rowe may have been questioned by some, but it was a calculated move that paid off in the end. The manager’s explanation shows that he has a clear plan for his players, and he is not afraid to make bold decisions when necessary.
This could be a title-defining game for the Gunners. These are the kind of games that could be the difference between winning a title or not, and its good that Arsenal prevail.