Emile Smith Rowe will use the past defeat to motivate Arsenal against Tottenham

Emile Smith Rowe believes Arsenal could use their defeat to Tottenham last season as extra motivation to travel to their local rivals this weekend.

The Gunners were comfortably beaten 3-0 at Spurs in May, losing momentum in their battle for a top-four finish and ultimately losing the Champions League.

However, this season Mikel Arteta’s side are five points clear at the top of the Premier League and have only lost one of their 17 matches so far.

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham won against Arsenal last season.

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham won against Arsenal last season. (John Walton/PA)

They take a short trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon to keep their lead at the top of the table, and once again in form, Smith Rowe admits that the painful defeat eight months ago is still fresh in his mind.

“We’re going to train really hard and take the energy we felt last year and use it going into the game,” he said.

“I feel like maybe (we’ll take advantage of the loss in preparation for this game), but of course most of us already know what it was like back then.

“Winning would be huge for us. I don’t think it could have come at a better time. We feel really good right now.

“All the boys know what it means to play these kinds of games. Now we will all rest and prepare for this.”

Smith Rowe returned to action in Monday’s 3-0 FA Cup third round win at Oxford, replacing Bukayo Saka, and played his first minutes since September 4.

The 23-year-old underwent groin surgery to rectify a problem he has revealed has plagued him since his loan spell at RB Leipzig in 2019.

“A lot of people may not know, but I’ve had this injury since I was 18, 19,” he said.

“For years it was hard to deal with. But I’m really glad it’s over. I had a successful surgery and I feel really good.

“It was exactly the same pain as then, which was quite difficult to manage. Of course, many people may not know about it for years. But I’m just happy to come out the other side fully recovered.

“I couldn’t wait to get out there and play with the guys. I hope to make an impression. I hope we can have a great rest of the season.

“It was hard being away from home for so long. I don’t think I’ve had anything like this (long break) before and it was hard to watch the guys. But at the same time we are the leader of the league and we are playing really well, so I can’t complain.

“Honestly, I was with them almost from the very beginning after the operation. I was at all the meetings and so on, trying to keep up with the knowledge and learning every day what he (Arteta) was trying to apply in training. It was much easier than I thought. I’m just glad to be back now.”

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