Though there is more to Smith Rowe’s game than goals and assists, any creative player is going to be judged on their contributions in the final third. And that is undoubtedly an area where the former Huddersfield Town loanee has developed his game this season.
Smith Rowe chipped in with six league goal contributions across 20 appearances in 2020-21, but has already matched that total after 11 games this time around. That averages out at 0.61 goals and assists per 90 minutes, which is almost double the 0.37 he registered in the previous campaign.
If You Don’t Shoot, You Don’t Score
Smith Rowe’s current total of four league goals is also twice as many as he scored last season. That should not be a surprise when you consider that he is taking double the number of shots – 1.62 per 90 versus just 0.81 last term. But his accuracy has improved significantly too, with the attacking midfielder now getting four times as many shots on target per 90 (1.01 versus 0.25).
That sees him rank sixth in the Premier League for shooting accuracy (62.5%) and inside the divisions’ top 10 players for goals per shot (0.25).
Driving Arsenal’s Attack
Arguably Smith Rowe’s biggest strength is his ability to drive play forward – charging at opposition defences with the ball at his feet, before laying off a pass or playing in a team-mate. He has done that to great effect this season, resulting in a significant increase to Arsenal’s attacking threat around the penalty area.
Only Newcastle United’s Allan Saint-Maximin (39) and Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo (35) have made more carries into the final third than the Gunners’ creator-in-chief (33), while he is also among the Premier League’s top performers for progressive carries (72) and number of players dribbled past (23).
A Full Debut To Remember
Smith Rowe’s outstanding performances at club level did not go unnoticed by England boss Gareth Southgate, who handed the Arsenal playmaker a first international call-up earlier this month.
He came off the bench in the Three Lions’ 5-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Albania, before being named in the starting line-up against San Marino.
The Hale End academy graduate made the most of his opportunity to shine in the 10-0 romp – assisting Harry Kane just after the half hour mark, before scoring one himself on 58 minutes.
Southgate was full of praise for the youngster’s performance at full-time, saying:
“He (Smith Rowe) has had a fantastic season so far, it’s great for him to play and get a goal today.
“He’s got all the qualities, the quality is there. He just needs to keep his head down, keep working, and I’m sure he’ll have a great future.”
With plenty more to come from the midfield maestro, big things are surely on the horizon for Arsenal and England’s rising star.