Pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed that Arsenal duo Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira need to step up as the Gunners look to get into the nitty-gritty of their Premier League and Europa League campaigns.
As things stand, the north London club are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 11 games left to play.
Meanwhile, in the Europa League, they are set to take on Sporting CP at the Emirates in their second-leg round-of-16 clash on Thursday after drawing 2-2 in Portugal.
With the Gunners in a pivotal period of the season, one pundit has highlighted the position Mikel Arteta’s side are currently in and named two players in the squad that he feels need to step up for the team.
Speaking to Football Insider, Agbonlahor had this to say when asked if Arsenal will still be focused on the Europa League given their impressive current position in the Premier League.
He said: “I think it is really difficult. If you have got this far, you have to really go for it in the Europa League. You set up a squad of players at the start of the season to use, and if they are not good enough, they should not be at Arsenal.
“The likes of Vieira, Smith Rowe, have got to come in and prove that they are good enough to be part of the setup.
“If Arteta had his way, he would love to rest his players and have them play the remaining Premier League games and not any other competition. But if you come this far in the Europa League, you want to win it.”
With Vieira, he has only started two of the 17 league games he’s appeared in, but started all seven of their games in Europe, which suggests that he could well find himself in the starting XI on Thursday, giving him an ideal opportunity to show what he’s capable of in a crucial game.
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Then with Smith Rowe, the 22-year-old has only made nine appearances for Arteta’s side across all competitions this season, with injuries hampering his playing time.
Therefore, he’ll surely be wanting to play as big a part as he can for the Gunners, whether that be in the league or in Europe.
Moving forward, if the Arsenal boss can get the most out of these two players that Agbonlahor spoke about, as well as the other players in his squad, they’ll surely have a great chance of being successful in both competitions.