Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have been bright sparks during an uninspiring spell but as the club seemingly turn the corner, Tony Adams’ warning about the duo could correlate with a previously worrying trend
Whilst Arsenal fans will have a spring in their step walking into walk today, certain comments from club legend Tony Adams could pose as a warning to Mikel Arteta.
The performances of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have once again reaffirmed the quality of Arsenal’s youth system and after shining in the win over Tottenham as they have staked their claim for becoming key players under Mikel Arteta.
Saka and Smith Rowe have now assisted one another five times in the Premier League becoming the second most fruit-bearing partnership aged 21-years-old or younger to do so in the competition’s history, only sitting behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney’s combination at Manchester United.
But the 54-year-old, who appeared as a pundit on Sky Sports’ Super Sunday coverage, warned of the potential of running “out of steam” whilst the statement isn’t one of note, there has been a worrying track record with academy graduates and injury problems.
[Emile Smith Rowe] and Saka, for me think the issues are physically to be honest,” Adams said. “Saka had a great Euros, these kids in effect carried the club and I just think they might run out of steam and going down the road, you can’t depend on two 19 and a 20-year-old to get you out of trouble every week.”
After the start to the season and recent weeks performances, no one could’ve expected such a one-sided game as both North London clubs toiled to slash the hopes of continuing a bubbling good record, on one hand, as the other tried to pile on the misery.
The Red half did exactly what they sent out to do racing to a 3-0 lead after 35 minutes, succumbing Nuno Espirito Santo to watch stages of the clash through the gaps in his hands as his head was buried between them.
Smith Rowe opened the scoring after delaying his run timing it to perfection to latch onto fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka’s cross before bursting forward and teeing up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the second goal.
The Croydon-born playmaker fulfilled a dream of any Gooner growing up in the shadows of Highbury and now the Emirates. “Probably the best day of my life, I’ve always dreamt about this day to score for Arsenal against Tottenham with my family here it’s just the best feeling,” he celebrated.
Arsenal have a brilliant record of bringing through talented youngsters as they currently reap the rewards of their development of the two Englishmen.
Injuries are an unfortunate reality of the game and can happen from an innocuous incident or in the rare case of a late tackle but the Gunners who have gone on to walk out onto the hallowed Emirates Stadium turf which is often a factor in their demise.
It’s a cynical thought to ponder over key assets suffering with injury troubles, but in the past it has been a trend of highly-rated prospects in the ranks.
Jack Wilshere is one of the names that spring to many fans minds and what could’ve been after came to the fore with his brilliant intricate style of playmaking, after his bow at the tender age of just 16, and shining against a Pep Guardiola Barcelona side, dancing around the likes of Xavi and Iniesta.
Wilshere featured in an Arsene Wenger side that had the capabilities to do something great but struggled to be anything more than serial top four side, but it was the 29-year-old who saw his Arsenal career stagnate after a spate of injuries.
Cesc Fabregas also developed and established themselves as a star player but the overuse and overdependency on the Spaniard’s playmaking and leadership nous drove him to the treatment table on more than one occasion with shades of the 34-year-old’s injury record comparable with now free agent Wilshere.
As he departed for Barcelona, the hole in the Arsenal midfield was a void that struggled to be filled.
Aaron Ramsey is another former Arsenal star who failed to buck the trend of overreliance which lead to spells on the sideline. The Welshman became a focal point for the Gunners during their FA Cup dominance but struggled to shake niggling muscle injuries and without him in the squad, the side were left severely depleted and lacking in quality.
The four-time top-flight winning defender was critical of Arsenal’s reliance on the “kids” but whilst Smith Rowe and Saka continue to show their class, Mikel Arteta must be wary of falling foul of his predecessor’s dependency on youth talents which has led to the stagnation of their careers and the dwindling of club fortunes.