The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield believes Emile Smith Rowe's performance against Aston Villa last Friday showed exactly why the Midlands club tried to sign him in the summer.
How did Smith Rowe perform against Villa?
The midfielder was heavily involved from the outset, linking up well with Nuno Tavares down the left flank as Arsenal quickly took control of the contest.
Smith Rowe got a first half assist when his corner was turned in by Thomas Partey, and after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had doubled Arsenal's lead just before the break, Smith Rowe put the game beyond doubt shortly after the interval.
Having been played through by Aubameyang, Smith Rowe kept his composure and found the bottom corner via a deflection off Tyrone Mings. Jacob Ramsey pulled a goal back late on for Villa, but Mikel Arteta's men ran out worthy 3-1 winners.
According to WhoScored, Smith Rowe made four key passes in the match - more than any of his teammates - on his way to a match rating of 9.14.
What did Hatfield say about Smith Rowe?
Although it was a bitterly disappointing evening for Dean Smith's men, Hatfield feels that the club's recruitment department, led by sporting director Johan Lange, can take comfort from Smith Rowe's display, as it shows that they are attempting to sign some very talented players.
Reflecting on a potential silver lining for Villa after their dismal showing, Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “Villa will look at that and say: ‘at least we’re targeting the right kind of players’, because Smith Rowe really did put in a good performance.”
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Are Villa going after the right type of players?
Smith Rowe was exceptional last week, and made it easy to see why Villa were so keen on signing him in the summer. They can consider themselves unfortunate that the youngster seemed to always have his heart set on staying in north London.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out on the players that Villa did manage to get through the door. The club spent almost £90m on Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings, but the trio have yet to fully make their mark since joining.
On paper, they look to be good additions to the squad, but Villa fans will be hoping to see them deliver more standout performances like Smith Rowe managed to on Friday before they are fully convinced by the summer signings.
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