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Intermediate goals: Auba, Pepe, Azeez, Smith Rowe

Morning.

It remains Interlully, but yesterday some Arsenal players were on the match report for their countries. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the goal for Gabon when they beat Angola 2-0 and shot a shot at the near post – see here.

Nicolas Pepe did the same for Ivory Coast when they beat Malawi 2-1. It seems a bit strange that a player who regularly and consistently contributes to goals would not have a permanent position on this team, but he is a victim of Arteta’s predilection for Bukayo Saka on the right. I wonder if we’ll see the 4-3-3 use more. He may play from the left a little more often, but he’s a player with a question mark who never really goes away.

The young midfielder Miguel Azeez scored a nice left foot in the top corner for England’s U20s against the Czech Republic – look here. He is currently on loan at Portsmouth in League One and has only made one appearance for them so far. Which is not to be critical, just an observation that likely tells us that he is far from ready for Arsenal’s first team.

Loan in Portsmouth is about preparing him to play against men, not youth players, and that can be a big step – considering he’s only 18 and some of our games seem a little off the mark at the beginning To be place – even if you can understand why people were looking for something different and fresh. Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley has a good track record with Arsenal loaners. He was running Huddersfield when Emile Smith Rowe went there and treated him with kid gloves, sometimes to the acute frustration of their fans who wanted to see more of the then 18-year-old. At one point, Cowley admitted that, saying:

When they had to take it off at important times in important games, I almost felt like booing myself off! But for us it’s always about doing the right thing for the player and the person. For Emile at this stage in his career, this was the right process for him.

Let’s see how the season goes for Azeez. It’s still only October, he has plenty of time to play and develop until May, and he has a manager who does the right thing of him, even if it sometimes means he won’t play.

Speaking of Smith Rowe, he was on the right track for the England U21s against Andorra and it was a striking goal. Yes, it was ‘just Andorra’ but England had dropped to 10 at the time after Rhian Brewster was sent off. Andorra had a corner, Liverpool’s Curtis Jones counterattacked and the man running into the whole room was Smith Rowe. And how!

One of the things that isn’t mentioned much about him is his pace. He’s clearly not a player who, like some others, relies heavily on that quality, but I think it’s an underrated part of his game. He has that fantastic shot over 5-10 yards that we’ve seen many times and even lately we’ve seen him play a key role in a runaway goal in the North London derby. The way he shot past the Sp * rs defender to get on Aubameyang’s flick and then create the shot opportunity showed great desire, but if you don’t have the legs to overtake it doesn’t really matter how much pleasure one has.

Fair play for Jones who made the pass at just the right time, but Smith Rowe’s run was smart – you can only see him take a 2/3 step to make sure he’s not offside – and the finish is coolness in person. I have a feeling he’s on the verge of delivering for Arsenal on a much more regular basis. He’s scored goals throughout his youth career and I think he’s more than good enough to do it at the senior level. Sometimes it only takes a couple of goals to open that lead, and since joining the team last December, he’s had pretty consistent chances. That goal will help too, as will the one he scored in the derby and it would be very useful indeed to find another player to pose a threat week after week.

There are later games for England and Scotland so hopefully Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney will get through them without a problem, while Takehiro Tomiyasu could play for Japan against Australia, then that will be the end of this particular Interlull (although there is another one) next Month).

Let’s leave it at that for this morning. If you haven’t had the chance, there is a brand new Arsecast Extra for you, all the links you need to listen / subscribe are below. See you tomorrow.

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