Mikel Arteta was unable to provide excuses on Sunday, after Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

"We are out of the competition and we have to apologise."

Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record 14 times, with their last triumph coming in Arteta's first half-season in charge. But while they will lament being on the end of a giant-killing, they have the chance to bounce back from only their second third-round exit in the past 26 seasons when they face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday in the first leg of a semi-final in England's other major domestic cup competition.

Initially, the Anfield fixture of this EFL Cup tie was due to be played second but Liverpool's coronavirus crisis, which Jurgen Klopp revealed was ultimately down to several false-positives within the squad, led to the postponement of the first leg at Emirates Stadium, originally set to be played on January 6.

The Gunners lost 4-0 at the home of the Reds in November's Premier League meeting, as Arteta's men were dealt a harsh dose of reality after a 10-match unbeaten run across all competitions.

A further 10 games have passed since then, with Arsenal losing four and winning six.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having been stripped of the captaincy and ostracised before travelling away for the Africa Cup of Nations, Arteta has once again turned mostly to youth as he looks to continue to grow a new "culture" at Arsenal, who sit fourth in the league.

Claiming some measure of revenge at Anfield could just prove Arteta's plan is the solution for long-term success, and four players seem crucial to that blueprint.

Super-sub Smith Rowe

Aubameyang's omission for a breach of club rules brought unnecessary noise in December, though results were not immediately impacted. With the 32-year-old not playing since December 6, Alexandre Lacazette has stepped in to spearhead Arsenal's attack, but behind him Arteta has an abundance of talent to choose from.

Emile Smith Rowe started the season brilliantly, though has only started one league game since November. That has not stopped the 21-year-old from being effective, however, with three of his eight league goals this season coming from the bench in recent wins over West Ham, Leeds United and Norwich City.

Smith Rowe has only played 63 league minutes since featuring for 70 in the December 2 loss to Manchester United, meaning he averages a goal every 21 minutes in that period. 

Asked about Smith Rowe's game time before the defeat to Forest, which the midfielder missed altogether, Arteta explained he had been carrying an injury, one which also means he is a doubt for Thursday's clash.

"The only reason that changed the dynamic was that [injury], and obviously now there are others who are doing well and have been performing well. That changed the situation, but I am very happy with him," Arteta told reporters, before adding that competition for places can only be positive.

"This is why we need that, we raise the level. Each player raises the level of the player next to him, and this is how you evolve as a team, how you create a culture around the team."

Few could say Smith Rowe isn't embracing that "culture", with his recent hot streak off the bench reflecting a commendable attitude.

 

Martin the maestro

One of the "others" Arteta was referring to will surely be Martin Odegaard, who signed permanently from Real Madrid following a bright loan spell last season. Given the Norway international burst onto the scene at the age of 15 in 2014, becoming the youngest footballer ever to play in his homeland's top tier, it would be easy to forget he has only just turned 23.

Only Bukayo Saka (38) has created more chances than Odegaard (34) in Arsenal's squad in all competitions this season, with the midfielder topping that metric per 90 minutes when it comes to players to have featured over two times, producing 2.1 opportunities on average.

His eight direct goal contributions ranks him fifth in the squad while his shot conversion rate of 18.2 is good for a midfielder. Indeed, only the outstanding Smith Rowe, who has converted 32.1 per cent (nine goals) of his 28 attempts can boast better among Arsenal's midfield contingent.

Yet with Smith Rowe's recent spell as an impact player, Odegaard has started behind the striker in Arsenal's 4-2-3-1, his eye for a pass and knack of finding space on the edge of the area a key facet to some slick attacking play.

That playmaking ability was on show in the 5-0 thrashing of Norwich on Boxing Day, with Odegaard providing the assists for Arsenal's opening two goals and a key role in their final strike.

While Odegaard (33) has had fewer touches in the opposition box than left-back Nuno Tavares (35) and completed just 10 dribbles compared to Smith Rowe's 23 and the team-leading Saka's 27, no Arsenal player has attempted more passes in the opposition half than Odegaard (523), with 80.9 per cent (423) proving successful.

Odegaard's ability to keep Arsenal in possession with neat and incisive passing has been crucial for the Gunners. Indeed, only centre-backs Ben White (933) and Gabriel Magalhaes (822) have found a team-mate on more occasions than the playmaker (703).

 

Wing wizards

Flanking Odegaard (or Smith Rowe), Saka and Gabriel Martinelli both head to Anfield in superb form. While Saka scored the opener in the 2-1 defeat to City on New Year's Day, Martinelli has directly contributed to six goals from 18 appearances.

Martinelli's devastating turn of pace was on show in a 4-1 rout of Leeds United last month, though the Brazilian flyer missed a golden chance to put Arsenal back in front in their defeat to City, slicing wide of an open goal – if we're being generous, perhaps he was put off by the referee. Still, he should have scored.

Nevertheless, his four goals have come from an xG value of 4.2, putting him just about on par based on the quality of chances he has been provided with, though that is in contrast to Saka.

The England winger's tally of seven goals is second only to Smith Rowe (nine), yet they have come from 4.6 xG, suggesting the 20-year-old is finishing chances the average player wouldn't ordinarily be expected to convert.

For example, his swept effort low into the corner against City was only the seventh-best chance of the game, while a wonderful solo strike at Norwich (his second goal of the game) registered an xG of just 0.03 – essentially, this translates to a three per cent likelihood of scoring.

 

Saka also leads the way for big chances created (defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would reasonably be expected to score) with eight, three more than any of his club-mates, and only Nicolas Pepe has provided more assists (five to four).

Not only is Saka already a proven creator of opportunities, but he is now putting them away with unerring accuracy.

Arsenal were dealt a harsh lesson on their last visit to Anfield, but with a second leg at home to look forward to and with Liverpool missing key duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Thursday could see Arteta's counter-attacking youngsters thrive, with a north London derby against Tottenham up after that.

Even if it again proves a step too far, there's no doubt the future is bright.

Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe struck in the second half to earn Arsenal a 2-0 win over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium to move the Gunners into the Premier League's top four.

Following a keenly contested first half in which Kieran Tierney struck the bar, Martinelli raced into the box in the 48th minute to slot a classy finish into the bottom corner.

The Gunners continued to assert their dominance in the second half as Alexandre Lacazette won a penalty, with Vladimir Coufal receiving a second yellow and a red for the challenge, but the France international's spot-kick was saved by former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

However, substitute Smith Rowe lashed home late on to secure an important result that sees Arsenal leapfrog the Hammers into fourth place, one point clear of their London rivals after 17 games.

The Gunners went close before the interval, Tierney racing onto a loose ball and blasting towards the top-left corner, only for Fabianski to get the slightest of touches to turn it onto the crossbar.

Martinelli scored the decisive goal shortly after the restart, latching onto Lacazette's sublime throughball to curl firmly into the bottom-right corner.

Lacazette was involved again in the 66th minute as Coufal slid in to win the ball from him in the box, fouling the striker and being sent off for a second bookable offence, but the Arsenal forward's penalty was kept out in the bottom-right corner by Fabianski.

With only 10 men, West Ham were caught out as they pushed for an equaliser, with Smith Rowe coming off the bench to drive towards the edge of the box and steer a left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner to seal an important win.

Having only just finished an exciting batch of midweek games, the Premier League returns with the potential for more drama, goals, and perhaps some fantasy points to boot.

Everton boss Rafael Benitez will be hoping to arrest his team's downturn in form when Arsenal come to Merseyside, but despite defeat at Manchester United on Thursday, the Gunners have a couple of form players to keep an eye on.

Antonio Conte will be looking to continue a promising start at Tottenham as they host Norwich City, and it will be no surprise to anyone if one of his wing-backs ends up having a decisive impact again.

Another electric wing-back has returned for Brighton and Hove Albion in recent weeks; Manchester City boast one of the form players in Europe; and the bottom, two teams look to their star strikers for much-needed points.

Plenty of fantasy teams are just as desperate for points, so here are Stats Perform's suggestions for possible picks ahead of the weekend, powered by Opta data.

AARON RAMSDALE (Everton v Arsenal)

Aaron Ramsdale has been rather busy since his arrival from Sheffield United, and he faced another ten shots on target from United on Thursday.

However, he has broadly impressed in Mikel Arteta's side, and ranks third in the Premier League this season for goals prevented (2.57).

He is also set to face an Everton side fresh off a chastening Merseyside derby defeat, and who have scored only four times over their past six league games, the joint-fewest of any side in the division with Wolves.

 

SERGIO REGUILON (Tottenham v Norwich City)

Conte's new Tottenham side are unbeaten in their opening three league games, the Italian head coach utilising a three-man defence again after successes with Chelsea and Inter.

Sergio Reguilon has been the main beneficiary of the change in system, with the left wing-back directly involved in a Spurs goal in each of his last two league games, scoring against Leeds United before assisting against Brentford last time out.

The Spaniard next faces strugglers Norwich, who have scored the fewest goals of any side in the Premier League this season (eight), while conceding the second-most (28).

 

TARIQ LAMPTEY (Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion)

Tariq Lamptey played an integral part in Brighton snatching a late equaliser against West Ham as he crossed in for Neal Maupay's acrobatic brilliance in the closing minutes.

The Englishman was brought on with 20 minutes to go and, as an impact sub, did exactly what he was asked to ensure Graham Potter's men did not return south empty-handed.

The right wing-back ranks fourth for chances created per 90 minutes among defenders in the English top flight this season, creating 2.4 opportunities on average as he prepares to face Southampton.

BERNARDO SILVA (Watford v Manchester City)

Pep Guardiola hailed Bernardo Silva as the best player in the league after the Portugal international nailed an expert first-time volley in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old, who reportedly wanted a move away in the previous transfer window, has scored four goals in his last seven league games for City, as many as he had in his previous 55 in the competition.

With the reigning champions perhaps a striker short still, Silva will continue being of central importance for City's attacking returns as they travel to Watford.

 

EMILE SMITH ROWE (Everton v Arsenal)

Emile Smith Rowe may have converted in bizarre circumstances at Old Trafford, but as many fantasy players will tell you: they all count!

The England international has had a hand in eight goals in his previous 11 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal (six goals, two assists), with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bettering that total this season (nine).

He heads to Benitez's Everton, who have conceded more goals than any other team in the league over their last six games (15).

 

TEEMU PUKKI (Tottenham v Norwich City)

There is one man for the job of keeping Dean Smith's Norwich away from the Championship and that is Teemu Pukki, a budget fantasy favourite for the Canaries.

The Finland goal poacher has managed three goals in his last four top-flight outings, as many as he had in his previous 24 appearances.

Indeed, if Norwich can breach Tottenham's resurgent defence, it is likely to be Pukki, who has scored five of his side's eight goals this term.

 

CALLUM WILSON (Newcastle United v Burnley)

In similar fashion to Pukki, Newcastle United's attacking hopes largely rest on the shoulders of Callum Wilson, who converted from the penalty spot in his last game against Norwich.

Another cheaper option compared to the likes of Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Bournemouth man has scored 17 Premier League goals for the Magpies.

That is more than twice as many as any other player for Newcastle since he joined the club at the start of last season, and Eddie Howe will be hoping his main man can deliver once more.

Emile Smith Rowe gave Arsenal the lead against Manchester United in bizarre circumstances in Thursday's Premier League contest, firing home with goalkeeper David de Gea down injured.

United shot-stopper De Gea was caught by team-mate Fred during an Arsenal corner and went down clutching his foot.

Harry Maguire headed the set-piece as far as Mohamed Elneny, who helped the ball into the path of Smith Rowe to half-volley past a still grounded De Gea from 20 yards.

After some initial confusion over whether the goal would be allowed to stand, referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the centre-circle to signal the start of Arsenal's celebrations.

United players were furious and caretaker boss Michael Carrick looked bemused on the touchline as opposite number Mikel Arteta punched the air.

With that strike after 13 minutes, Smith Rowe (21 years and 127 days) became the second-youngest scorer for Arsenal in a Premier League game at Old Trafford after Nicolas Anelka in February 1999 (19 years and 340 days).

United had shipped nine successive Premier League goals at Old Trafford without scoring, their longest such run, before Bruno Fernandes slotted in an equaliser shortly before half-time.

Emile Smith Rowe has impressed for Arsenal this term, but he is now revelling in getting the chance to train and play alongside a Tottenham star.

Smith Rowe – who is Arsenal's joint-top scorer in the Premier League this season with four goals – was initially left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

However, the withdrawals of James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford, as well as doubts over Mason Mount's fitness, resulted in the 21-year-old midfielder linking up with Southgate's senior squad at St George's Park.

Smith Rowe is thrilled by the opportunity, though perhaps risked the wrath of Arsenal fans as he singled out training with Harry Kane – England's captain and Spurs' talisman, albeit one who has struggled for form this season – as a particularly surreal moment. 

"Obviously I play against these guys every week but for England it's always different," he told reporters.

"Wearing the same training kit and passing the ball to each other – it's crazy to be alongside these great players. Harry Kane, captain of England, what he's done – it's crazy to be training with him. [Raheem] Sterling as well.

"I always knew training would be difficult. It still hasn't sunk in I'm actually here yet."

Smith Rowe has joined club-mate Bukayo Saka in the squad.

Saka impressed at Euro 2020, though the youngster was one of three England players to miss a penalty in the shoot-out defeat to Italy in the final.

"Me and Bukayo are so close off the pitch, I'm so happy for him every time he plays for England," Smith Rowe said.

"It's extra special to be here with him, we've both come up from Hale End [the Arsenal academy]. It's a big moment for us and for Arsenal as well."

Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe has revealed how kicking bad drinking and eating habits has helped his rapid rise following his maiden England call-up this week.

Smith Rowe earned his first-ever senior England call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse's withdrawal.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder burst onto the scene with Arsenal late last season and has scored in each of the Gunners' last three league games.

Smith Rowe told The Guardian that his recent rise came after abandoning bad habits around diet and hydration.

"I didn’t used to eat that well," Smith said. "I wasn’t drinking that well. Before games, I wasn’t really that hydrated. I’ve tried now to focus so much on it.

"Arsenal are strict but I didn’t really listen, to be honest. I think that’s where I went wrong. Now I’m listening all the time."

He added: "Chocolate … I like Nando’s a lot – maybe that’s killing me a little bit. I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can.

"The club have sorted me out with a chef. His name is Chris and he comes to my house every day. I live with my mum and she normally cooks but she doesn’t have to any more. Chris cooks for me and her.

"With hydration, there’s loads of stuff we should be taking before a game and, yeah, before I was a bit too lazy."

Smith Rowe has made 11 Premier League appearances this season, netting four goals and providing two assists. He also scored in the EFL Cup against AFC Wimbledon in September.

It is all change in the England squad, with two players dropping out, and Emile Smith Rowe earning a first senior call up from Gareth Southgate.

Smith Rowe has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season, but was not initially included in Southgate's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

The midfielder, who was handed Arsenal's number 10 shirt for 2021-22, has appeared in every Premier League game for the Gunners this term.

His tally of 15 chances created ranks him second in Arsenal's squad, behind Bukayo Saka (19). He has provided two league assists and scored four goals, meaning he is the club's joint-top scorer in the top flight alongside captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After initially arriving at St George's Park to be part of the England Under-21 squad, Smith Rowe will instead join the senior side after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse dropped out.

Rashford has only just returned from a long injury lay off following shoulder surgery, and will remain at Manchester United in order to work his way back to fitness, while Southampton's Ward-Prowse is ill.

Southgate might also be without regulars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount. The United full-back is following concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury in Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester City and will continue to be assessed by the club before being released for international duty. 

Mount, meanwhile, has had his arrival pushed back by dental surgery and will be monitored over the coming days.

England host Albania on Friday, before taking on San Marino three days later. Four points from the two matches will guarantee their place in Qatar.

Emile Smith Rowe has praised the spirit in Arsenal's squad to recover from a slow start to the season and climb into fifth place heading into the November international break.

The Gunners kicked off the 2021-22 campaign with three league defeats in a row without scoring for the first time in their history.

Since losing 5-0 at Manchester City on August 28, however, Arsenal have gone eight without defeat in the top flight – their best run since another eight-game spell that ended in March 2020.

Mikel Arteta's men are also unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions thanks to Sunday's 1-0 win over Watford at Emirates Stadium.

Smith Rowe, who scored the only goal of the game against Watford with a second-half strike after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an earlier penalty saved, insists he always had full faith in his side's ability to bounce back.

"We have been working really hard. It was really important we got three points today," he told Sky Sports.

"I think we always believed in ourselves and each other. It was just about coming together as a team and we are such a family."

Smith Rowe has now scored in three successive Premier League games, making him only the fourth Arsenal player to do so aged 21 or under after Nicolas Anelka, Jose Antonio Reyes and Cesc Fabregas.

That goal came from one of 14 shots Arsenal managed in a game they largely dominated against Watford, who had Juraj Kucka sent off late on for a second bookable offence.

"It was a difficult game for us today. Watford are a strong team, so I'm [glad] we got the three points," Smith Rowe said. 

"I am happy to score. I have been practising during training. It's really special and doing it at home and in front of our fans is even better."

Smith Rowe has five goals this season – already his best in a single campaign – but his form has yet to be rewarded with a call-up to the England senior squad.

Asked if he is disappointed not to be part of Gareth Southgate's squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers, Smith Rowe said: "It's important I just keep my head down and work hard."

Emile Smith Rowe scored for a third Premier League game running to extend Arsenal's unbeaten run as they beat Watford 1-0 in Mikel Arteta's 100th game in charge.

Arsenal's breakthrough came after a frustrating first half that saw a Bukayo Saka goal ruled out for offside before Ben Foster saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty.

Foster was in inspired form but could not keep out Smith Rowe's drilled shot with 56 minutes on the clock, with that proving to be the only goal of Sunday's clash at Emirates Stadium, where Juraj Kucka was sent off late on for Watford.

Arsenal are now eight league matches without defeat – winning six of those – making this their best such run in the competition since another eight-game spell ended in March 2020.

Saka thought he had opened the scoring early on when Aubameyang's heavy touch ran to the winger in front of goal, but he was stood beyond Foster and identified as offside by a VAR review.

Arsenal continued to dominate and were awarded a penalty when Danny Rose clattered into Alexandre Lacazette. However, Aubameyang's attempt from the spot lacked precision and Foster saved with a combination of his arm and leg down to his right.

Although Foster was then equal to Gabriel's header, the Gunners had scored at least once in all 14 previous Premier League meetings with Watford and keep that run going here.

Smith Rowe picked up the ball following a positive run from Ben White and swept a first-time finish away from Foster to make it five goals for the season in all competitions.

Substitute Martin Odegaard was then denied when his goalbound effort was tapped in by an offside Aubameyang at the back post.

That set up a slightly nervy finish as Joshua King fired into the side-netting following a lapse in judgement from Aaron Ramsdale, but Kucka's second yellow card for a wild swipe at Nuno Tavares effectively ended Watford's hopes of snatching a point.

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal laid down a marker for how he wants his side to play in their dominant 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Friday.

The Gunners snapped a run of three successive defeats to Villa in the Premier League, moving up to ninth place thanks to goals from Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were two goals ahead at the end of a first half that saw them register 14 shots to Villa's none – the first time they have managed to stop their opponents from getting a shot away before half-time in the league since May 2018 against Burnley. 

The win extends Arsenal's unbeaten run to six matches in the top flight since kicking off their campaign with three straight losses and Arteta was delighted with what he saw.

"The way we started the game and the way we continued was good," he told BBC Sport. "We attacked them really aggressively, we won every duel. We were creative, a threat. I'm proud of the team, they played really well.

"This is how we have to play. This is when we are good, when we play with real desire, real commitment and can have clear ideas of how to attack them. We are closer together as a team. Our decisions were good. We have good players."

Arsenal had an Aubameyang goal rightly ruled out and hit the crossbar through Partey's strike before the latter found a way through with his first goal for the club on his 40th appearance in all competitions.

It looked as though Arteta's side would only have that one goal to show for a dominant first half, but they were awarded a penalty just before half-time after a lengthy VAR review for a Matt Targett foul on Alexandre Lacazette. 

Aubameyang's spot-kick was saved by Emiliano Martinez, but the Gabon international beat his former team-mate from the follow-up as he scored a home league goal for the fourth game running.

Star man Smith Rowe went on to put Arsenal out of reach early in the second half, before Jacob Ramsey's late consolation, but Arteta admitted he was concerned his side's profligacy may have cost them before the second goal went in.

"That was the worry," he said. "That [Aubameyang] goal was really helpful. We deserved many more. Villa are a really good side. When they had a little bit of the ball in your half they can cause problems.

"It was really impressive what they did, especially Nuno Tavares. This was his first start. To play with courage, credit to the boy. We reviewed the Crystal Palace game, how we started and why we weren’t consistent in the game. We put it right today."

Smith Rowe pulled the string for Arsenal from midfield by playing a game-high four key passes, including the assist from a corner for Partey's opener, which he added to with a deflected strike of his own to round off a counter-attack.

"Emile was terrific," Arteta told Sky Sports. "He's scoring goals, but I feel it was more about the team today. Scoring should be a habit and he should demand that in his game as he's capable of doing it. He's developing more in other areas.

"The other night against Crystal Palace, he wasn't 100 per cent fit but he wanted to step forward with the injury he had. 

"He's changing his ways in terms of the eating habits that he had and I thought he was superb. This was an example of why we wanted to keep him and we're very happy with him."

Arsenal returned to winning ways and moved into the top half of the Premier League with a well-earned 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta's side had been held in back-to-back games but Friday's win never seemed in doubt after Thomas Partey deservedly headed them in front with his first goal for the club.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a second just before half-time from a rebound after Emiliano Martinez had saved his penalty, which was awarded after VAR intervened.

Villa substitute Jacob Ramsey pulled one back late on after Emile Smith Rowe had further extended Arsenal's lead, as the Gunners stretched their unbeaten league run to six matches and condemned their opponents to a third loss on the bounce.

 

Aubameyang had a goal rightly ruled out for an Alexandre Lacazette foul in the build-up and Partey turned a shot against the crossbar in a dominant start from Arsenal.

The hosts deservedly took the lead with 23 minutes played, when Partey got away from John McGinn and guided Smith Rowe's corner past Martinez.

Former Arsenal keeper Martinez produced a fine save to deny Bukayo Saka from a one-on-one on the half-hour mark, but he was beaten for a second time from the penalty spot right at the end of the first half.

After being asked to check the pitchside monitor, Craig Pawson adjudged Matt Targett went through the back of Lacazette to win the ball and Aubameyang fired past Martinez at the second attempt after his former team-mate kept out the initial spot-kick.

Villa squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 against Wolves last week, but any hopes of a comeback of their own were extinguished by a Smith Rowe strike that deflected in off Tyrone Mings.

Ramsey curled a delightful shot past Aaron Ramsdale eight minutes from time following some nice play from fellow substitute Leon Bailey, though that proved nothing more than a consolation.

Emile Smith Rowe has praised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for giving young players like himself and Bukayo Saka confidence as the pair look to improve their production in front of goal.

Smith Rowe (21) and Saka (20) were both on target against Andorra during the international break, the former with the Under-21s side and the latter with the senior squad.

Saka scored the second goal of a 5-0 rout on October 9, while Smith Rowe slotted home the only goal of the game two days later after Rhian Brewster's sending-off had reduced the Young Lions to 10 men.

The pair rank in the top four for both expected goals and expected assists across all competitions among Arsenal players to have played at least 300 minutes this season.

Smith Rowe largely credits Arteta for their development, with senior Gunners stars also taking the time to help them out.

"[Arteta] has spoken to us and given us so much confidence to stay calm," said Smith Rowe.

"[Saka and I] know we're going to be getting into these positions. Because we're both young players we've got to stay as calm as possible and just focus on the goal really.

"We've been practising a lot in training, after training and we get the support from the experienced players in the team as well, they're always helping us. It's really good at Arsenal, we're really happy with the help we're getting."

New England U21s head coach Lee Carsley had special praise for Smith Rowe, believing that the attacking midfielder – who has frequently played on the left for Arsenal – has the ability to score, create and beat his man.

"With any wide player they are always judged on goals and assists and Emile has got the ability to do both," said Carsley.

"I've seen him in training, the way he finds the corners and finishes very calmly, he finishes like a centre forward at times and the opposite to that is that he has got that last pass which is really important.

"That's why I'm keen on getting him in really attacking positions more often, the higher up we can get him and the more we can get him one-vs-one he'll create a lot of problems like he does at Arsenal."

The Gunners will hope both their young Hale End graduates can make a positive impact when Crystal Palace visit Emirates Stadium on October 18 as Premier League action resumes.

Gareth Southgate backed Harry Kane to return to form with England as they prepare for October's World Cup qualifiers.

Southgate's side are set to face Andorra and Hungary but their captain Kane comes into next month's internationals out of form with Tottenham.

Despite collecting the Premier League Golden Boot last campaign, the 28-year-old has struggled this term, failing to score or assist in 378 top-flight minutes - attempting just nine shots and creating only four chances.

Kane's international form, by contrast, has not dropped, with the forward netting in 15 consecutive games across the World Cup and European Championship qualifiers.

However, Southgate remained firm on his stance about his star striker as he expressed his support for Kane, who is on his longest drought since August 2016.

"I can only talk from an England perspective," Southgate responded to reporters when asked about Kane's lack of form on Thursday after announcing his 23-man squad.

"Every couple of months I sit here and have to answer similar questions, and then Harry goes out and scores a lot of goals for us.

"That's the life of a high-profile player - you have to accept there's going to be that speculation and intensity, that analysis of performances.

"Last month we had three games, he played in all three and scored goals in all three. He's still a critical part of what we do and I'm sure he's going to be highly motivated when he comes to see us next week.

"He's closing in on a number of incredible goalscorers. We had the sad news of Jimmy Greaves in the last couple of weeks, and Harry is in that echelon of incredible names."

Tottenham were most recently downed 3-1 by fierce rivals Arsenal, with Kane making just five passes and recording 25 touches across 90 minutes at Emirates Stadium.

Youngster Emile Smith-Rowe was on the scoresheet for the Gunners and, despite impressing, Southgate wants the Arsenal academy product to maintain his form if he is to earn a place in the England squad.

"[Smith-Rowe] is a player we like a lot and was very close to making this squad," Southgate answered when asked about a potential call-up for the 21-year-old.

"At this moment in time I don't want to bring in any more younger players out of the Under-21s. They have got to earn that right over a longer period.

"I thought his performance against Tottenham was very good. We know how he finished last season as well. I can only say he is a player we really like and he was close."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said Arsenal's youngsters played with freedom after the Gunners cruised to a 3-1 derby victory over Tottenham.

Emile Smith Rowe turned in a star display as he scored Arsenal's opener before teeing up Aubameyang to double their advantage at Emirates Stadium.

In a blistering first-half display from Mikel Arteta's side, Bukayo Saka made it 3-0 after Arsenal capitalised on Harry Kane's error in the 34th minute.

Son Heung-min netted a late consolation for sorry Spurs, who also hit the crossbar late on, though Nuno Espirito Santo's side were deservedly beaten as they suffered a third successive top-flight defeat. Tottenham are only the second team in Premier League history to win their first three games of a season and then lose the next three, after Everton in 1993-94.

"It means everything. It means the world to us. We gave everything for them today. The fans give us everything. They push us. It's an amazing feeling, unbelievable," Arsenal captain Aubameyang told Sky Sports, as he spoke alongside Smith Rowe.

Asked if he offered guidance to Arsenal's younger players, Aubameyang said: "These boys are great guys, they're doing well, and I'm happy that my kids will grow up [in London] and one day be maybe like [Smith Rowe].

"It's quite easy when you have boys like this who always listen and are ready to learn. So I try to give them some advice.

"The most important thing is they feel free as they play. This is what they did today. They are doing amazing."

Smith Rowe created two chances and scored with his only shot in a scintillating performance. With his goal having been teed up by Saka, the duo have now assisted one another five times in the Premier League. Among players both aged 21 or younger, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney (eight) have teed each other up more often in the competition's history.

"I've always dreamt of this day, to score for Arsenal against Tottenham. To have my family here as well, it's just the best feeling ever," said Smith Rowe, before explaining Arteta's influence.

"He just tells us to keep calm. We're young players in a massive game. He just encourages us so much and gives us so much confidence. Not just the manager, but the players in the team as well, they give us so much confidence."

After heading into the last international break bottom of the table, having lost their opening three games by an aggregate score of 9-0, including a 5-0 thumping by Manchester City, Arsenal have now overtaken a Spurs side who were top at the end of August.

It is the first time Arsenal have ended a day of Premier League action above Spurs since October 25, 2020.

"We are doing a good run for a couple of games now," said Aubameyang.

"After the game against Manchester City it was time to have a chat between us players and this is what we did. We want to go forward and win games.

"This was important for us to make everything clear. We are doing well right now and the feeling is very good."

Arsenal claimed consecutive Premier League victories over Tottenham for the first time since 2014 as they eased past their North London rivals 3-1.

Having initially made a strong start to life under Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs have now lost three successive league games, with their manager seeing his first derby effectively lost inside the first 45 minutes.

Emile Smith Rowe's 12th-minute strike gave Arsenal a deserved lead, which was doubled when he teed up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 15 minutes later.

Spurs offered limp resistance and the game was essentially put to bed by the excellent Bukayo Saka, with Son Heung-min's effort a mere consolation for Tottenham.

Smith Rowe rewarded Arsenal for a bright start when he drifted towards the near post to slot Saka's clever low delivery beyond a rooted Hugo Lloris.

Thomas Partey tested Lloris from range and Aubameyang fired a long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar before Spurs threatened a riposte through Son, who forced Aaron Ramsdale to turn behind from a tight angle.

Aubameyang found the desired accuracy to double Arsenal's lead as Spurs were caught on the counter, the Gabon forward freeing Smith Rowe down the left with a neat backheel and then firing into the bottom-right corner from the eventual return pass.

Tottenham failed to learn their lesson and were undone by another Arsenal break. It was Saka this time who was given the freedom of one flank, and he surged into the open space to tuck home after seeing Harry Kane block his attempted pass to Aubameyang.

After his defensive efforts fell short, Kane then missed a glaring opportunity to offer a more traditional contribution to proceedings as he headed wide unmarked from a corner, encapsulating an awful first half for Spurs.

Kane did draw a save from Ramsdale on the hour mark and then beat the Arsenal goalkeeper, only to see his dinked effort drift wide of the right-hand post.

Son side-footed beyond Ramsdale, with Granit Xhaka injured in the build-up, but those were the only blots on a superb day for Arsenal, who survived an injury-time scare when their goalkeeper tipped a Lucas Moura strike onto the crossbar.

Page 1 of 2
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.