One particular development during Arsenal’s meeting with Watford over the weekend will leave Mikel Arteta altogether concerned heading into the club’s upcoming showdown with Liverpool.
Smith Rowe makes the difference Arteta of course led his troops back into on Sunday afternoon.
On the back of a stellar spell of form, the Gunners welcomed Claudio Ranieri’s Watford to the Emirates, aiming to make it a trio of Premier League wins on the bounce heading into the international break.
And, despite a couple of speed bumps along the way, in the end, this is precisely what Arsenal managed.
After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw a first-half spot-kick well kept out by Ben Foster, the afternoon’s telling moment was forthcoming ten minutes after the interval.
Owing to some impressive attack-minded work on the part of Ben White, the ball dropped to the edge of the area, where Emile Smith Rowe was on hand to slot home a pinpoint finish:
“Sweet as you like from Emile Smith Rowe” 😋
Smith Rowe has scored for the third successive Premier League game to put Arsenal in front against Watford! 👏
📺 #ARSWAT on Sky Sports PL
📲 https://t.co/m5zXeQ0vNk pic.twitter.com/yRBJe20Ca9
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 7, 2021
Lokonga concern As alluded to above, however, amid an otherwise fine day’s work for his side on Sunday, one moment early in the first-half of action no doubt thoroughly frustrated Mikel Arteta.
This came with 20 minutes on the clock, when, after hauling down Juraj Kucka in midfield, Sambi Lokonga was hit with a yellow card.
Under normal circumstances, such a development would of course not be cause for much concern.
However, yesterday’s marked Belgian starlet Lokonga’s 4th booking of the Premier League campaign.
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Emile Smith Rowe and Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal look dejected after conceding their second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at Brentford Community Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
This means that, in the case that the 22-year-old picks up another yellow card over the first half of the season, he will be slapped with a one-match ban.
With Arsenal already without the services of Granit Xhaka, who was followed onto the sidelines by Thomas Partey at the weekend, losing Lokonga for even a solitary outing any time soon could therefore prove hugely costly.
Next up for Mikel Arteta’s men? A meeting with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who will no doubt be chomping at the bit on the back of a frustrating defeat in their own most recent outing…
The Arsenal midfielder is walking the disciplinary tight-rope.https://t.co/PhHZsBY7nI
— football.london (@Football_LDN) November 8, 2021
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Premier League table # Team MP D P 1 Chelsea FC 11 23 26 2 Manchester City 11 16 23 3 West Ham United 11 10 23 4 Liverpool FC 11 20 22 5 Arsenal FC 11 0 20 6 Manchester United 11 2 17 7 Brighton & Hove Albion 11 0 17 8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 -1 16 9 Tottenham Hotspur 11 -7 16 10 Crystal Palace 11 1 15 11 Everton FC 11 0 15 12 Leicester City 11 -2 15 13 Southampton FC 11 -2 14 14 Brentford FC 11 -1 12 15 Leeds United 11 -7 11 16 Aston Villa 11 -6 10 17 Watford FC 11 -7 10 18 Burnley FC 11 -6 8 19 Newcastle United 11 -12 5 20 Norwich City 11 -21 5 Player Team Goals Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 10 Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7 Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6 Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6 Raphinha Leeds United 5 Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4 James, Reece Chelsea FC 4 Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 4 Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 4 Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 4 Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4 Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4 Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 4 Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4 Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 4 Fornals, Pablo West Ham United 4 Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 4 Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4 Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 4 Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 4