Mesut Ozil praises 'difference maker' Emile Smith Rowe

Mesut Ozil praises ‘difference maker’ Emile Smith Rowe with Arsenal’s upturn in form coinciding with Mikel Arteta’s decision to play the youngster in Ozil’s old No 10 role

  • Arsenal have won three consecutive Premier League games to end crisis talk
  • Saturday night’s 4-0 win at West Brom lifted Mikel Arteta’s side to 11th place
  • Emile Smith Rowe impressed and his return has coincided with return to form
  • Outcast Mesut Ozil praised the 20-year-old for his impact on the team 

Mesut Ozil hailed ‘difference maker’ Emile Smith Rowe as Arsenal continued their revival with a 4-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion.

While Ozil remains frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s plans, the Gunners have won three consecutive Premier League games with 20-year-old Smith Rowe starting in a No 10 position.

And the German doesn’t believe that’s any coincidence with Smith Rowe excelling in the position he once made his own.

Mesut Ozil described Emile Smith Rowe as ‘the difference maker’ as Arsenal won at West Brom

Smith Rowe has featured in Arsenal’s three consecutive wins over the festive period 

Ozil, who hasn’t played this season, wrote on Twitter: ‘Nice game my boys! Great spirit – 3 wins in a row. Team looks good with a No 10 like Emile Smith Rowe – the difference maker.’

Some will no doubt interpret Ozil’s remark as a sly dig at Mikel Arteta’s tactics, with Arsenal going seven league matches without victory before Smith Rowe was introduced.

The England under-20 international appeared poised to make a significant breakthrough at the Emirates Stadium when he burst onto the scene during the 2018-19 season.

But Smith Rowe was sent out on loan to RB Leipzig and then Huddersfield Town before a shoulder injury saw him sidelined at the beginning of the current campaign.

Arteta’s decision to bring the youngster into his side in recent games has been rewarded with Smith Rowe setting up two goals in Arsenal’s winning run.

Ozil has yet to play a single minute for Arsenal this season after Mikel Arteta froze him out

Arsenal’s recent upturn in form has relieved the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta

They beat Chelsea 3-1 on Boxing Day to arrest their slump before winning 1-0 at Brighton and 4-0 at The Hawthorns on Saturday night.

After the game, Arteta credited Smith Rowe and fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka for their part in Arsenal’s return to form.

Arteta was satisfied with the win, saying: ‘This is as close as it gets to what we want.

‘This is an Arsenal team with the idea I want. There were certain moments when we were very close to that. The players had the handbrake off and you can see they are free to play.

‘There were moments when we were really good, both defensively and offensively. 

The Gunners showed good character in snowy conditions at West Brom to seal an easy victory

‘This is exactly what we want the players to do. The energy and the momentum is much more positive.

‘It is always tough to win away from home and we have done it in a really convincing way. It’s three in a row and we had talked about the importance of this week.’

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