Arsenal have found their mojo in recent weeks, with the Gunners propelling themselves into the hunt for a Europa League spot next season.
Mikel Arteta’s side have been lingering in the bottom half of the table for most of the season – but since Christmas they have seen an upturn in form – largely due to the emergence of one man.
Emile Smith-Rowe has shot to stardom in recent weeks, with fans and pundits alike waxing lyrical, as the 20-year-old was beginning to establish himself as a first team regular.
Incredibly, since Smith-Rowe’s first Premier League appearance of the season against Chelsea, The Gunners have lost just three out of 12 games – one of those coming against a rampant Manchester City side.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, and Arteta, the England U21 international limped off in Sunday’s eye-catching 3-1 victory away at Leicester and is a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Turf Moor.
The silky attacking midfielder has injected some much needed pace and trickery into an Arsenal attack that was void of ideas, with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette finding themselves starved of service.
The latter of those two players, has himself seen a resurgence in recent weeks – netting six times since Smith-Rowe’s inclusion to the team – compared with just three goals prior to that, highlighting the link that the Englishman provides between midfield and the forwards.
Smith-Rowe himself is yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League since stamping his authority on the starting 11, but his contribution to the side in other ways should not be under estimated.
He has registered four assists so far, whilst also creating two big chance that his team mates have failed to convert – but besides that, his overall ability to find space will be sorely missed should he miss out on Saturday.
Against a Burnley side, desperately fighting for points at the wrong end of the table, Arsenal will need that guile to break down a resolute Clarets defence.
Smith Rowe’s ability to find pockets of space between defence and midfield is something Burnley notoriously struggle with and is one of the main chinks in their defensive armor.
Finding that space is one thing, but it’s Smith-Rowe’s ability to find that forward pass which sets him apart from his competitors, with his four assists so far the joint most in the Arsenal squad – despite playing just 12 times.