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Matthew Smith received a nomination for the PL2’s January Player of the Month award on Tuesday, after a few impressive performances.
The Premier League announced their nominees for the PL2 Player of the Month award on Tuesday, with Matthew Smith among them. The Arsenal u23s actually only played two league games in January, but Smith did play a pivotal part in both.
Against Derby County, Arsenal were 2-0 down with ten minutes left. Smith played an excellent pass over the top for Balogun, which a Derby defender controlled badly into Sam Greenwood’s path to score.
With two minutes left, Smith then made some space for a shot and hit the post, with the ball bouncing in off Jordan Brown for 2-2.
Then, against Everton, Smith played his part in another comeback. He actually helped give Arsenal the lead, assisting Joseph Olowu’s opening goal. By the 78th minute though, they were behind 3-2.
Just as before, a late Smith finish levelled the scores, though this time without the help of an opponent. The midfielder slotted home at the end of a lovely team move.
Though it wasn’t in the PL2, and therefore doesn’t qualify, Smith also played a good game against PL2 side Leicester City in the Premier League International Cup in January. Once again, his through balls to Balogun caused a lot of problems.
This all makes Smith sound like an attacking midfielder, but he’s actually the deepest-lying of the usual midfield trio. Often he even slots into a back-five when Arsenal are in possession. This allows the centre-backs to split and the full-backs to push up.
When he does get forward though, he has good creative qualities, and he’s adding a finish as well. Congratulations to him on this month’s nomination!