Arsenal pulled off a bit of a coup when they managed to entice Martin Odegaard to sign on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season in January, but how has it impacted youngster Emile Smith Rowe?
The Norwegian started the first two games of the season for Los Blancos, but was subsequently limited to just one further start in La Liga after falling out of favour with head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Searching for first-team football, he would eventually agree to join Arsenal.
One issue that was raised following his arrival was how it would impact the development of young Gunners starlet Smith Rowe, who had recently at that time came into a rich vein of form since breaking into the first team at the Emirates.
Smith Rowe was primarily played behind the striker in an attacking midfield role, but since Odegaard’s arrival he has usually been shifted out wide – and it has had a detrimental effect on his form.
Smith Rowe before Odegaard v after Odegaard
|Stat||Before Odegaard||After Odegaard|
|Biggest FC Match Rating||8.0||7.1|
|Average FC Match Rating||6.2||5.6|
Smith Rowe has made 12 appearances before Odegaard arrived and after he arrived now so this is as good a time as any to assess how much his form has dipped.
The most striking thing about his form is his goal contributions, as before Odegaard he had seven contributions in 12, while after he only has one assist to his name and no goals since the Norwegian arrived at the Emirates.
According to FootballCritic, Smith Rowe’s best performance of the season came against Newcastle in the third round of the FA Cup. He didn’t even start the game, either, but came off the bench before the hour mark and eventually scored the breakthrough goal in extra-time, earning a 8.0 FC Rating.
Since Odegaard’s arrival, his best performance came in a 4-2 win against Leeds when he gained an assist, earning a 7.1 FC Rating.
If you were to average out Smith Rowe’s performance ratings from before Odegaard to after, as you can see in the table, there has been a 0.6 point drop.
Things don’t appear to be improving for Smith Rowe, either, as one of his worst performances of the season so far actually came in the Europa League against Slavia Prague this week, in which he recorded a 5.5 FC Rating.
In his 88 minutes on the pitch he only touched the ball 27 times and completed just 14 passes.
He recorded no goals, no assists, not shots on goal, no dribbles, and just two crosses.