Mikel Arteta asked whether Emile Smith Rowe could face West Ham
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Mikel Arteta asked whether Emile Smith Rowe could face West Ham

Mikel Arteta has suggested that there is a chance that Emile Smith Rowe could feature for Arsenal when they face West Ham on Boxing Day, but admitted that the youngster has not been training in the last few days – in comments reported by Football London.

The Gunners are dealing with a few issues ahead of the resumption of the Premier League campaign. Gabriel Jesus’ World Cup came to a premature end due to injury. Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson came off during Saturday’s clash with Juventus.

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The likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are coming back into the fold after their respective countries’ quarter-final exits in Qatar. And with that, Smith Rowe could hand Arsenal a massive boost.

Arteta provides Smith Rowe update

The 22-year-old has not been seen in an Arsenal shirt since September. Of course, the Gunners have been able to kick on in his absence, moving five points clear at the top of the table.

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Following the clash with Juve, Arteta was asked whether Smith Rowe will be available to face West Ham later this month. And he seemed to hint that there could be a chance.

“Let’s see. Emile the last few days hasn’t been able to train but hopefully he can start next week,” he said, as reported by Football London.

“He’s been out for a while now and he needs some time to get back to speed, but we really need him. We’re gonna welcome him with both arms because he’s a really important player for us and we need him fit on the pitch.”

Clearly, Arteta’s comments suggest that Smith Rowe is unlikely to play much of a role against the Hammers. Arsenal will be wary of rushing him back too soon. The next few months are massive for the club.

Smith Rowe’s return could provide a huge lift. And given the injuries they are currently dealing with, Smith Rowe could have an opportunity he may not have expected.

Arsenal’s form in the first-half of the campaign hinted that the youngster faced a huge task forcing his way back into the side.

It is still going to be a tricky task. But until Arsenal make further signings, Arteta is going to have to rely a lot on the attacking players he does have available for the foreseeable.

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