Arsenal loanee Matt Smith dropped down to the Charlton u23s for minutes earlier this week, with his second loan of the season not going entirely to plan.

Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League One - The Valley Charlton Athletic s Matt Smith right comes on for the substituted Andrew Shinnie during the Sky Bet League One match at The Valley, London. Picture date: Tuesday February 2, 2021. Copyright: John Walton
Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth – Sky Bet League One – The Valley Charlton Athletic s Matt Smith right comes on for the substituted Andrew Shinnie during the Sky Bet League One match at The Valley, London. Picture date: Tuesday February 2, 2021. Copyright: John Walton

Arsenal academy midfielder Matt Smith initially moved on loan to Swindon Town at the start of the season, but with the League One club flirting with relegation and their new manager showing less faith in Smith, he returned to Arsenal in the January transfer window.

By all accounts, Smith had started the season very well, so there was plenty of interest in him from elsewhere in the league. Charlton Athletic were keen to pick the 20-year-old up, which represented a step up from Swindon Town for the second half of the season.

But things haven’t gone so well since then. At first, Smith took a while to get into the team at all, though that isn’t entirely unusual after a transfer.

It started to appear as if things were improving in early March, as Smith made a couple of League One starts, but things have gone backwards since then.

First, Smith dropped back to the bench and made a couple of substitute appearances against Northampton Town and Shrewsbury Town. Then, he disappeared from the squad entirely for their next four games.

Now very much in need of minutes, Smith made a start for the u23s against Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week. In fairness, it actually went very well, with Charlton thrashing their opponents 4-0 and the Arsenal loanee setting up one of the goals.

But we can only hope that leads to a reintegration into the Charlton first team now. It would be a shame for Smith to remain with the u23s until the end of the campaign. It would’ve been better for him and for Arsenal if he’d just stayed in their own u23s, if they’d known that would be the case.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.