Emile Smith Rowe enjoyed his “best performance in an Arsenal shirt” against Slavia Prague last night.
That is according to ex-Gunner Kevin Campbell, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Arsenal’s 4-0 Europa League quarter-final second-leg victory.
Smith Rowe appeared to open the scoring in the 13th minute when he knocked in the follow-up after Buyako Saka’s shot rebounded off the post.
That was ruled out for offside but the youngster was key just moments later as he danced past three defenders and laid off for Nicolas Pepe to put Arsenal 1-0 up.
Smith Rowe achieved an 80 per cent pass accuracy and made five ball recoveries before being subbed off with the score at 3-0 in the 66th minute (Wyscout).
Campbell hailed Smith Rowe for his maturity and ability to perform under pressure in what was an “outstanding” display.
“I thought he was outstanding,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“He scored and it was offside but that was the catalyst for the team to show some mental strength and push on.
“That ball through to Pepe was brilliant. If Kevin De Bruyne had done that, everyone would be crowing about it.
“He’s got that vision, he’s got that mindset and he’s got quality. He showed all of that last night.
“I was pleased that Arteta took him off after 66 minutes because the job was done. You don’t need him or Saka to get injured.
“It was his best performances in an Arsenal shirt. It wasn’t just the performance, it was the pressure that was on that game.
“They needed to win. It was to get into a Europa League semi-final. To play like that as a 20-year-old kid is absolutely brilliant.”
Quoted in the Evening Standard, Mikel Arteta called the 20-year-old attacking-midfielder “a joy to watch” after his fine display.
Smith Rowe is enjoying a breakthrough season in 2020-21, featuring 25 times for Arsenal across all competitions.