As if Arsenal’s afternoon was bad enough, losing 3-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford despite being the better team for most of the game, they also look like they might have lost Emile Smith Rowe ahead of the Europa League starting this week.
Emile Smith Rowe has not seen much action this season but that was likely to change this week when Arsenal travel to FC Zurich for the first group game of this year’s Europa League.
Posting on Twitter after the game, however, David Ornstein was concerned for the midfielder who seemed distressed during Arsenal’s warm down and left the pitch being comforted Carlos Cuesta, Mikel Arteta’s assistant coach.
Smith Rowe came on in the 74th minute when Arteta made three changes to try and get Arsenal back into the game when they were 2-1 down.
A minute later, it was three and the game was over.
Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta was asked about the club’s current injury problems in midfield, but this was before anyone seemed to realise there might be a problem with Smith Rowe.
“You haven’t heard me (talk) about that (injuries),” Arteta said, “and I don’t want any excuses because these are the players we have.
“For me, they are the best players. We give them confidence and belief and with those players, we play here the way we played. That’s it. That’s not going to change.”
Asked if his young Arsenal side were too naïve in the second half, Arteta said, “We lacked discipline. We concede the first goal where after the action in the contact with Bruno we’re still three-vs-three but we don’t follow our principles and we concede the goal when it’s two against one.
“After that it was all us, chance after chance, imposing ourselves in the way we wanted. I said at halftime to the boys ‘the game is there for the taking, if we play with more courage we’re going to win the game.’
“After the 1-1 it should be two or three one and then in our best moment we gave the ball away in a dangerous area and on top of that we stepped in when we can never do that in a dangerous area against that team and we suffered the goal.
It’s a big lesson. If you want to win here you have to do everything so right and especially if you don’t do it there in the opponent’s goal with the number of chances we created.”
Arteta was, of course, asked about Gabriel Martinellli’s goal that was ruled out because Christian Eriksen fell over.
“I haven’t seen the action,” he replied, “but what they said is that it was a soft foul so it’s just consistency. The soft foul on Bukayo Saka with Mings is not a penalty last week, the soft foul against Aaron Ramsdale when we concede a goal against Villa, it’s a goal.
“So just consistency. There’s nothing we can do now, it’s too late, but it’s just consistency.”