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Smith Rowe start continues extraordinary stat

To see Emile Smith Rowe back in the Arsenal starting XI was heartening given the injuries that have derailed his career at the Emirates.

Indeed, a sign of the 23-year-old’s recent inactivity is that his last three Premier League starts – Newcastle in May 2022, Sheffield United in October 2023, and at Forest tonight – have come over three different calendar years. The midfielder was lively in the opening stages though, going close 14 minutes in and reguarly linking play as his side pushed forward.

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Striking question remains for Arteta

Barring a sensational development in the next 24 hours, Arsenal will indeed finish the January transfer window without the purchase of a new striker that the fans crave.

And Mikel Arteta’s stubborn insistence that he does not need to add to his forward ranks was again under scrutiny tonight. The five goals the Gunners fired past Crystal Palace last time outappeared a distant memory as they toiled in the first half, constantly on the front foot but struggling to carve out clear openings.

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