A number of Arsenal fans have taken to Twitter to call for Emile Smith Rowe to start in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The 20-year-old has made a sensational breakthrough this season, becoming the latest Hale End star to become a first-team regular under Mikel Arteta.
This season, Smith Rowe has made 17 senior appearances for Arsenal, including each of the last 10 Premier League games.
With Martin Odegaard now in the Gunners ranks, Mikel Arteta moved the Hale End gem from his usual No. 10 role to the left in the last-32 first leg draw with Benfica, but he struggled out of position.
And against Manchester City, Arteta opted to drop Smith Rowe, bringing him on for the final 17 minutes of the 1-0 defeat.
Admittedly, the player was due a bit of respite, but with the second leg against Benfica coming up, some Arsenal fans would like to see him in the starting XI again.
Here is what some have been saying on social media:
Ceballos, and ESR should start in the CAM, no in the LM
— Paul (@nikoury21) February 24, 2021
esr looking like he’s gonna start
— Ismail (@Afcismail_) February 24, 2021
Smith-Rowe over Odegaard and I don’t think Partey will fit enough to start so Ceballos over Partey. Would like to see Martinelli start over Pepe but I understand that Pepe this after the game he had against City
— ArtetaFC (@Artetafc21) February 24, 2021
I want Auba and Laca to start tomorrow…with ESR behind them…Xhaka and Partey in CM…hopefully, Cedric starts at RB cos Bellerin needs to rest! I am okay with any CB partnership as I fully trust our CBs these days! #COYG
— Sidney 🚀♨ (@sidramatics) February 24, 2021
Saka ESR Martinelli needed tomorrow. Got the away goal, Benfica can’t sit in. Gotta get Martinelli in behind
— Spooky (@_SE96) February 24, 2021
I think vs Benfica we should go with:
Cedric Luiz Mari Tierney
Saka ESR Martinelli
Lots of potential with this lineup!
— TheArsenalFC (@THEAFC7) February 24, 2021
Ready for my boy to score vs Benfica pic.twitter.com/x3W9nS94SF
— ESR SZN (@SaucySmithRowe_) February 23, 2021
Arsenal face Benfica in Athens having drawn the first leg 1-1, with Bukayo Saka equalising for Arteta’s charges in Rome.