Arsenal’s emphatic 2-0 win over West Ham United went a long way to proving Freddie Ljungberg’s prediction on Emile Smith Rowe wrong.
The Gunners dominated the Hammers for the majority of Wednesday night’s Premier League clash, with Gabriel Martinelli breaking the deadlock just after half-time before Smith Rowe fired in a second in the closing stages of the game.
Former Arsenal coach Ljungberg claimed earlier this year that bringing Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard to the club would hamper the Englishman’s development under Mikel Arteta.
Asked back in March if he was surprised that his old side had signed Odegaard despite already having Smith Rowe, he said: “Yes I was.
“I’m a little like… Don’t get me wrong: I think Odegaard is a fantastic player.
“However, if you have young players in a similar position who you want to develop, I don’t understand why you would take someone in on loan who you don’t have a purchase option on to develop for another club – like Madrid in this case.”
“Because I believe that if Arsenal is to progress as a football club, it will be the young players who will make the difference.”
Odegaard started the game against the Hammers, helping his team dominate the first half and registering two vital passes for his teammates before being replaced in the no.10 position by Smith Rowe shortly after the hour mark.
Arteta made the right option, as both playmakers played a key role in the victory, and it wasn’t the first time the two teenagers have delivered a crucial goal this season.
In actuality, Smith Rowe is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League, with six goals, while Odegaard is joint-second with four goals this season.