Arsenal beat Lyon 3-0 on Thursday afternoon as they ramp up preparations for the return of the Premier League, but while many youngsters got an appearance, Emile Smith Rowe was not in the squad, and after the game, Mikel Arteta explained why.
Emile Smith Rowe has been out with a groin problem since the start of September.
Almost a month after he was first ruled out, a decision was made to have surgery to try and correct the problem, sidelining the 22-year-old for a further two months. That estimated a return around the end of November.
Three weeks ago, however, the Evening Standard reported that Smith Rowe was targeting a return date of around January 1st. A few days later, the player himself told Sky Sports he hoped to be back for the Boxing Day game against West Ham.
Although Smith Rowe travelled with the Arsenal squad to Dubai, he did not feature in Arsenal’s win over Lyon.
After the match, Arteta was asked about the midfielder and explained Smith Rowe is still a ‘few weeks’ away from a return.
“With Emile, he has returned to training and he’s in that process after we rehab, after a period where he had some real discomfort,” Arteta said.
“So we are giving him time – he’s getting closer and closer. So hopefully in the next few weeks, we’ll be able to see him.”
Smith Rowe has managed just 47 minutes of football this season so far.