Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media ahead of Monday’s clash against Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has indicated that Emile Smith Rowe could feature against Oxford United on Monday.
Smith Rowe hasn’t featured since September’s 3-1 loss away to Manchester United, spending four months on the treatment table following a niggling groin problem that resulted in the talented youngster having groin surgery in Autumn.
However, Arteta has now spoken about the England international’s current fitness status, confirming that he hopes to play the young playmaker in Monday’s FA Cup clash.
“We need him fit and at his best. When we have that we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot,” said Arteta.
“If he trains tomorrow, hopefully, he will be able to give us something on Monday.” Smith Rowe enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 campaign, netting 11 goals and providing a further two assists across all competitions.
Arteta will be hoping that the Hale End academy graduate can get back to full fitness as soon as possible, with Arsenal’s next two Premier League fixtures coming against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United – who remain the only team to defeat them in the league so far this term.
The Gunners currently sit at the top of the table, five points clear of second-placed Manchester City, although they are yet to face the Citizens so far this season.
City boss Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on the north London outfit in recent times, admitting that Arteta and Co deserve to be first in the current standings. Speaking to City’s official website about the ongoing title race, the former Barcelona head coach said: “It could have been 10 points between us and Arsenal if Newcastle hadn’t made an incredible effort and we hadn’t won here [away to Chelsea on Thursday night].
“I said to the players that it doesn’t change much – we still have 63 points to play for, so there are a lot of points. We have to continue to prove ourselves because it is normal to be in this position after four Premier League titles in five years.
“I would prefer to be closer, but the way Arsenal play so far, they deserve to be where they are.”