In a contentious decision by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, fans have found themselves up in arms after two players were excluded from the starting XI against Bournemouth.
Both players, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson, had delivered commendable performances in the Carabao Cup just earlier this week.
Nelson, notably, seized an opportunity from a Zanka error to put the Gunners ahead, scoring the lone goal of the clash against Brentford. Last year, Arsenal made their mark by securing a dramatic 3-2 win at the Emirates, where Nelson emerged as the hero with a last-minute winner.
Nelson’s absence in this upcoming match, despite his recent heroics, has roused discontent among fans, who have taken to Twitter (now X) to question Arteta’s decision.
Emile Smith Rowe has also struggled to find playing time, starting his first match in nearly 500 days at the Carabao Cup clash. Fans feel that the attacking midfielder deserves a chance in the first team as well.
One fan suggested Arsenal should sack Arteta:
“Nketiah over Nelson ? Sack Arteta now”
Another claimed the Spanish manager to be a fraud:
“#Artetaout for starting Nketiah over Nelson. Fraud of a manager. Leave my club.”
Here is a selection of more tweets:
The Gunners‘ defensive prowess has been highlighted as the team heads south, having secured three clean sheets in as many away games this season. Clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Everton have been part of this promising stretch.
Yet, despite the defensive accolades, Arsenal suffered from vulnerabilities at the back in their recent North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs managed to draw level twice, courtesy of a brace from Son Heung-min, which led to Arsenal slipping to fifth place in the standings.
Aside from their defensive woes, the Gunners’ offensive output is a cause for concern as well. Their goal tally is tied for the worst among the top eight teams, standing level with West Ham.
Fans will be hoping that players like Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe are trusted to provide good performances in the coming months as the Gunners seek the Premier League title.
Darren Bent criticizes Arsenal manager Arteta’s decision to favor Kai Havertz over Emile Smith Rowe
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent has taken issue with Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta for his recent choices on player selection. Bent’s comments came in the wake of Arteta’s consistent decision to start an out-of-form Kai Havertz over Emile Smith Rowe.
During an appearance on talkSPORT, Bent was clearly perturbed by Arteta’s remarks that Smith Rowe needs to “prove himself” at the Premier League level.
Bent lamented, revealing that Smith Rowe had since done so:
“I love Arteta as a manager, but back in the 2021-22 season, I think it was when his job was on the line. He was struggling a bit and who were the two that carried him through? [Bukayo] Saka and Smith Rowe, he got 10 league goals that season.”
Bent went on to add:
“But the fact to say, to see if Smith Rowe can play at this level, that is just crazy. I think if you are asking me who I would rather play right now, Havertz or Smith Rowe, Smith Rowe every day of the week.”
Bent’s sentiment is similar to that of the fans, who have questioned Arteta, especially when players like Smith Rowe have shown clear promise and have been instrumental in past successes.