Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey have joined Arsenal’s preseason U.S. tour, per multiple reports. The pair did not travel with the team to Washington, D.C. on Sunday. When Arsenal left London, the club confirmed the two were expected to meet up with the team at some point on the trip.
ESR was finishing up an abbreviated vacation after the U21 Euros. The reason for Partey’s brief absence is unknown to the public but obviously approved by the club. Some have speculated that Partey didn’t travel because of the transfer links to Saudi Arabia but that doesn’t make much sense. There are several players on the trip linked with moves away.
Neither will dress for tonight’s match against the MLS All Stars — they haven’t been in training for the past few days, although I’d guess they were working out on their own. They may be available for Saturday’s match in NYC against Manchester United and almost certainly will be ready to go next Wednesday against Barcelona in Los Angeles.
Mikel Arteta was recently asked about his midfield options and how he might deploy them this season by the CBS Sports Golazo show. He said, “Now we have three very good holding midfielders, with him [Rice], Thomas [Partey] and Jorgi [Jorginho]. I have to fit them in because they are so good and I love playing with midfielders! We’re thinking of a few ways to maximize their qualities and get the best out of them.”
Not much insight into his plans, but I think we’ll see more variation in formation and roles from Arsenal than we did last season when the team more or less played the same setup and system in every match.
The same can be said for Emile Smith Rowe joining the attacking rotation. Mikel Arteta has plenty of options to give opponents different looks. We don’t have much idea of how Emile Smith Rowe might fit into the Arsenal attack as currently constituted. He couldn’t stay healthy last season, which kept him from consistent playing time and a run of form. Don’t forget, ESR was the Gunners’ second-leading scorer the season before last. Adding a player like that back to the depth chart will be like a new signing (wink).