Emile Smith Rowe has defended Mikel Arteta for his passion, claiming it sets the Arsenal head coach apart from other Premier League managers. Arteta faced backlash for his wild celebrations in the Gunners’ 3-1 win against Liverpool last Sunday but has since defended his actions as the title race ramps up.
Smith Rowe, an attacking midfielder capable of playing on either wing, was one of the Spaniard’s key stars at the start of Arsenal’s uprise after a sticky start to his tenure.
However, injury issues have stalled his development in recent years, and he has made just three starts in all competitions this season.
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are firmly Arteta’s first-choice wingers, with Leandro Trossard often his preferred impact substitute.
But Smith Rowe has spoken highly of his boss, claiming his exuberant personality on the touchline goes a long way in boosting the players on the pitch.
“I’d probably say his passion as well [sets Arteta apart from other Premier League managers],” Smith Rowe explained.
“Sometimes it just feels like he is on the pitch as well. I know other managers have passion as well, but with him, it feels like he is the 12th man on the pitch.”
Arsenal garnered criticism for their jubilation after toppling Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium last weekend through Saka, Martinelli and Trossard.
Neville told Sky Sports that the celebrations showed “a little bit of immaturity” while Jamie Carragher fumed at Martin Odegaard on commentary.
The Liverpool legend told Odegaard to “just get down the tunnel” while he revelled in the triumph with Arsenal’s cameraman.
Arteta was just as lively while the game was ongoing, sprinting around the dugout after watching his side take the lead against Jurgen Klopp’s visitors.
After full-time, he replicated Klopp’s fist pumps in front of a raucous North Bank.
But the 41-year-old has strongly defended his actions at the Emirates after facing a wave of backlash from pundits throughout the week.
“They told me today, so I didn’t know anything about it [the criticism]. But I love it,” Arteta said.
“I’ve seen managers at the Emirates, away [at other stadiums] on their knees inside the pitch. I’ve seen very big managers going across the touchline in the Premier League.
“Personally, I love it because it brings such passion and emotion to the game when it’s done in a natural and unique way. I think it’s great, but it’s my opinion, and other people may think something different.”
Arsenal are considered the outsiders alongside Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race, given the pair of clubs’ prolonged periods challenging for England’s top honour.
So it will be no surprise if the Gunners’ animated celebrations continue for as long as they are keeping pace at the Premier League summit.