Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal ‘need’ Emile Smith Rowe as midfielder makes return from injury in FA Cup win

    OXFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal celebrates with Emile Smith Rowe during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Oxford United and Arsenal at Kassam Stadium on January 9, 2023 in Oxford, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
    Emile Smith Rowe made his comeback in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Oxford United in the FA Cup (Getty)

    Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal will ‘need’ Emile Smith Rowe for their Premier League title challenge after the midfielder made his return in the FA Cup on Monday evening.

    The 22-year-old has been sidelined since September due to a groin injury which required surgery.

    The midfielder made his long-awaited comeback on Monday as he came on as a substitute for the final 15 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Oxford United in the FA Cup.

    When asked about Smith Rowe’s return after the game, Arteta said: ‘It’s good.

    ‘Obviously it’s been four months since he played so I think it was the perfect game to give him some minutes to get out of the blocks.

    ‘Now he needs to start to be available and to start to play at the highest level because we’re going to need him.’

    Oxford United's English midfielder Marcus McGuane (L) fights for the ball with Arsenal's Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira during the FA Cup third round football match between Oxford United and Arsenal at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, west of London, on January 9, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
    Mikel Arteta also hailed Fabio Vieira’s display in Arsenal’s FA Cup win (AFP via Getty)

    Meanwhile, Arteta also praised the performance of Fabio Vieria, who provided two excellent assists in Arsenal’s win over the League One club.

    When asked about Vieira’s display, Arteta replied: ‘Really happy, obviously he contributed in a big way to win the game.

    ‘That’s his quality – to create goals, to decide games in the final third and he had two really good moments that helped us win the game.

    ‘The way the game was in the first half he was man-marked all the time and didn’t have a lot of space.

    ‘The game became really direct and unclear for him. But the moment we started to do things better he found more spaces and that’s his game.’

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