Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe was given an opportunity to feature for the U21s last night, and the Englishman was deployed in a slightly different position.

The 22-year-old has had a really difficult campaign. He has missed a huge chunk of the season due to a groin issue that required surgery, and he’s not back to his best just yet.

Arsenal are trying to get him up to speed by giving him game time with the U21s, and Mikel Arteta may have a new weapon now with Smith Rowe playing in a different position.

Arsenal Emile Smith Rowe
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Emile Smith Rowe played as RCM for Arsenal U21s

The Arsenal U21s took on Chelsea at Kingsmeadow last night and suffered a 1-0 defeat due to a late Leo Castledine goal. That’s a shame, but Smith Rowe and Jakub Kiwior getting some minutes under their belt was a huge positive.

Arsenal fans were really impressed with Kiwior’s performance, but many of us also spotted Smith Rowe in a slightly unusual position.

The Englishman is an attacking midfielder by trade, but he has also featured on the left flank on numerous occasions for Arsenal over the last two years.

However, last night, Smith Rowe was deployed as a right-sided central midfielder – a role we haven’t really seen him play in since he made his senior debut.

That could give Arteta a ton of options in the coming months.

Arteta’s new weapon

Arsenal usually start with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park, with Martin Odegaard playing in a more advanced position. That has worked wonders for us, but there is room for improvement.

Arsenal have struggled to break down sides who sit deep and defend with 10 men – the game against Everton a few weeks ago is a great example of that.

A player like Smith Rowe starting in central midfield with Odegaard while Partey sits in front of the defence would give Arsenal more ammunition when they are on the ball.

We won’t be surprised at all if Arteta uses Smith Rowe as one of his box-to-box midfielders in a 4-3-3 system at some point in the remainder of this season.

Arsenal Emile Smith Rowe
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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