football

Darren Bent names Emile Smith Rowe the one ‘spark’ in a ‘boring’ Arsenal team under Mikel Arteta


Emile Smith Rowe has scored five league goals this season (Picture: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Darren Bent has slammed Arsenal for their lacklustre performance against Everton in a display that highlighted how much they missed Emile Smith Rowe.

The 21-year-old missed out on the trip to Goodison Park through injury as Everton came from a goal down to secure a 2-1 win over the Gunners.

Arsenal’s performance was heavily criticised as they lacked an attacking threat going forward as Mikel Arteta dropped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench.

Alexandre Lacazette led the line before Arteta handed Eddie Nketiah a chance to impress off the bench but none of Arsenal’s attacking options helped contribute.

Former Premier League striker Bent believes Smith Rowe’s absence was felt and if Arteta doesn’t improve the team tactically then he feels even bottom of the league Norwich could beat them.

‘I watched Arsenal and thought: “How boring are we now?”‘ he said on talkSPORT.

‘We used to have an identity in the way we played, but that first half last night was hard to watch in terms of what Arsenal were trying to do.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal sit seventh in the Premier League this season (Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

‘You could quite clearly see that we missed Smith-Rowe – he’s the spark in that team at the minute – but it just looked so lacklustre.

‘There’s no desire in trying to get the ball back, there was no energy, we were just trying to get the ball to Saka.

‘The whole thing just didn’t fit.

‘You can quite clearly see when Liverpool go one-up they want to get three, four, five. It’s almost like Arsenal don’t trust where they are after taking the lead.

‘Arsenal got fortunate it was only 2-1 and on any given day, any other given team can beat Arsenal.

‘They’re not hard to play against. If Norwich turn up and put it together, they could beat Arsenal.’

We’ll find out if Bent’s prediction comes true when Arsenal travel to Norwich on Boxing Day.


MORE : ‘They have not got it’ – Gary Neville pinpoints Arsenal problem under Mikel Arteta after Everton defeat


MORE : ‘I’m not worried’ – David Seaman hits back at Gary Neville’s comments about Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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