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Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka puts smile on face of manager Mikel Arteta

Sam Dean
·2-min read
Emile Smith Rowe and Mikel Arteta — Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka puts smile on face of manager Mikel Arteta - GETTY IMAGES
Emile Smith Rowe and Mikel Arteta — Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka puts smile on face of manager Mikel Arteta - GETTY IMAGES

Mikel Arteta hailed the “extraordinary” performances of his youngsters as Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka continued their thrilling run of form during Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United. Smith Rowe and Saka have been crucial to Arsenal’s recent upturn in results.

They combined again in a second-half demolition of Newcastle, with Saka scoring from another Smith Rowe assist. “I know what they are capable of doing,” said Arteta. “They put a smile on my face. Their performances were extraordinary. The expectation will be high with them so we have to take them through the right path.

“It is a mixture of energy, passion and a little bit of immaturity at times, which is good as you do not play tense.”

Arteta was also boosted by the return to goalscoring form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who struck twice in the second half before leaving the field with a minor stomach issue. Aubameyang had scored just one league goal since early November before this meeting with Steve Bruce’s struggling side, and missed a series of chances before finishing twice after the break.

“That is what he has done through his career and mentally you have to be really strong in order to do that,” said Arteta, whose side have now kept five consecutive clean sheets.

“He has come out of a difficult period.

“We have been missing his goals a lot. Today he came back and scored two, and contributed to the team to win and this is exactly what we need. I am really pleased for him.”

Arteta added that Mesut Ozil’s medical and paperwork must still be finalised before the club can confirm his departure to Fenerbahce.

“Mesut’s quality will be missed,” Arteta said. “He’s a very special player who had a very big history in this football club.”

Newcastle are now without a win in seven Premier League games, their longest run without a victory since October 2018. Steve Bruce made eight changes to his starting line-up following their defeat by Sheffield United but his side lacked any attacking threat.

Asked if he still feels he is the man to turn their form around, Bruce replied: “I have been in it [management] for a long time and managed to turn it around before. So yes, 100 per cent.”

On his own position, he added: “I am trying to do the best I possibly can as always but you will have to ask others about that.”