You know what they say; when one door closes, another one opens.
For many Arsenal fans, the departure of Mesut Ozil was a disappointing one. For years, the club have needed a playmaker to link play, create chances and score goals - and at one stage, the German provided that must-needed creative spark.
In the 2015/16 campaign, Ozil picked up 19 assists in 35 Premier League matches. On his day, he was one of the best in world football but those days became few and far between towards the end of his time in North London.
He struggled to maintain a place in the club's starting line-up and the rest is history.
Geçmiş ve Gelecek :yellow_heart::blue_heart: '' Past & Future :yellow_heart::blue_heart: pic.twitter.com/c4BgWmLjrd
- Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 18, 2021
Ozil has now departed for pastures new and in his place, 20-year-old Emile Smith Rowe has come in and taken his opportunity with both hands. Gary Neville compared him to Robert Pires after last night's performance against Newcastle - a compliment of the highest order.
Video: Gary Neville praises Emile Smith Rowe after tonight's match on MNF. [Sky] #afc pic.twitter.com/8TYBXyA9DO
- afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 18, 2021
Since making his first start for Arsenal in their Boxing Day clash against Chelsea, Smith Rowe has created ten chances for his teammates in the club's last five games against Brighton, West Brom, Newcastle [x2] and Crystal Palace.
Mikel Arteta's side have won four of those last five games, with Smith Rowe contributing massively to the team's good form. In fact, only Bruno Fernandes has created more chances from open play than the 20-year-old midfielder since December 26.
The 'Croydon De Bruyne', as many have nicknamed him of late, was once again influential in Arsenal's win against struggling Newcastle on Monday night, helping himself to another assist for fellow youngster Bukayo Saka during the 3-0 home victory.
Smith Rowe's individual highlights against Steve Bruce's side prove he is the kind of player Arsenal have needed for a long time.
Neville likened the 20-year-old to Robert Pires in his analysis and he certainly has a point.
"You watch Emile Smith Rowe play. You watch a lot of young players play particularly in the attacking area and they're frantic," Neville said on Monday Night Football. "Their choices are usually a bit erratic, they don't normally get it right.
"He runs with the ball, he moves with the ball, he glides with the ball and he's always at a point whereby you feel he can release it."
Can we take a minute to appreciate the first touch of Emile Smith Rowe? pic.twitter.com/n9hjpsqLtc
- AFTV (@AFTVMedia) January 18, 2021
Neville continued, saying: "The real best players travel with the ball but they are always in the position where they can release it. He's connected, he's switched on, he's clever.
"They've had brilliant players, the likes of Pires, intelligent players who could run with the ball. He could play in the old Arsenal teams with the way he plays and he's only six games in...six games is unbelievable.
"It's really impressive and Arsenal fans have got a group of young players there they can hang their hats on and start to like and build something around."