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Arteta sets goals & assists target for Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal
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After Smith Rowe scored his first Premier League goal, Arteta set the youngster a new target to become a ‘top’ No. 10 at Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta has challenged Emile Smith Rowe to become a ‘top’ No. 10 at Arsenal by reaching 15 goals and 10 assists a season.

Smith Rowe scored the first goal of his Premier League career on Sunday to help the Gunners seal a 3-1 win over West Brom at the Emirates Stadium.

The 20-year-old did so in style by smashing in a volley from Bukayo Saka’s cross to hand Arsenal the lead. Nicolas Pepe then curled the ball into the top corner from the far-right six minutes later. And while Matheus Pereira got a goal back for West Brom, Willian’s late free-kick sealed Arteta’s men all three points.

Seeing Smith Rowe, though, scoring his first league goal was satisfying for Arteta. Now the Spaniard, who handed the young midfielder his big break this season, has revealed his expectations for the future.

“He’s having an incredible season ever since he started to play in December,” said the Gunners boss in a post-match conference on Sunday night.

“But he’s scoring his first Premier League goal. An incredible season for a No 10 of Arsenal means he needs to score 15 goals and give 10 assists.

“Then you are right up there with the top guys in Europe and in the league. He’s got the ability to do it, but he hasn’t done it.

“We need to stay calm with him, give him the right support, and step by step I think he will get there.”

Arteta is also hopeful Smith Rowe’s hamstring problem is ‘nothing major’ after he came off in the 63rd-minute for Kieran Tierney.

“I don’t know, he felt something in his hamstring so we took him off,” said Arteta.

“I don’t know. Sometimes he cramps, and that’s something that’s been happening for a while because he’s still adapting to the league, to the amount of games every three days.

“Hopefully, it’s nothing major.”

Arsenal next take a trip to Stamford Bridge to face London rivals Chelsea on Wednesday night.