CBS Sports journalist James Benge has revealed that Arsenal‘s Boxing Day clash at home to West Ham United will come ‘too soon’ for Emile Smith Rowe.
The Lowdown: Arteta update
Mikel Arteta gave an update on Smith Rowe’s fitness after he was absent from the team that lost 2-0 against Juventus at the Emirates Stadium in a friendly on Sunday evening.
The Spaniard said that he has been unable to train in the last few days but will ‘hopefully’ start training ‘next week’. He added that Smith Rowe needs time to ‘get back to speed’, and that he is a ‘really important’ player for the squad.
The 22-year-old has been out of action since September, after having surgery on his groin.
The Latest: West Ham ‘too soon’
Taking to Twitter, Benge has revealed that Arsenal’s clash with West Ham on Boxing Day will come ‘too soon’ for Smith Rowe, as the North Londoners want to make sure that he is ‘100 percent ready’ for a return:
“I’m told that the Boxing Day clash with West Ham is likely to come too soon for Emile Smith Rowe. There’s not setbacks or anything similar, Arsenal and player are just taking their time to make sure he is 100 percent ready on his return.”
The Verdict: Big blow
It is certainly a big blow for the Gunners to be without Smith Rowe against the Hammers, and it will be a worry for supporters that he has seemingly still not recovered from injury after this long break.
The Englishman was a key player in the same fixture last season, scoring Arsenal’s second goal, which wrapped up the three points and made sure that they leapfrogged their opponents into the top four of the Premier League.
With Gabriel Jesus’ injury as well, coupled up with a fatigued Bukayo Saka coming back from the World Cup with England, Arteta needs as many options in the forward line as he can get.
Nonetheless, the Gunners will now be praying that Smith Rowe can return in the New Year.
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