Mikel Arteta thinks Arsenal’s young players have proven he can rely on them, after a strong performance against Chelsea on Saturday.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Emile Smith Rowe, Alexandre Lacazette, and Hector Bellerin after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 26, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Emile Smith Rowe, Alexandre Lacazette, and Hector Bellerin after scoring on December 26, 2020. (Photo by Andrew Boyers – Pool/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta started an inexperienced front four against Chelsea at the weekend, with Alexandre Lacazette backed up by two 19-year-old wingers in Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, and a 20-year-old attacking midfielder in Emile Smith Rowe.

It ended up working wonders, with the trio constantly proving a threat and Smith Rowe and Saka combining for the goal that arguably killed the game at 3-0.

You could argue Arteta’s choices were limited, with Willian missing out through illness, but the manager argues he still had enough senior players if he wanted to use them.

“It’s not that we had to play them because we had enough senior players on the bench as well that they could play,” Arteta said. “We decided to play them (the young players) because they fully deserved to do that.

“And now we have to manage the games, how everybody’s recovering, and what the game requires in relation to the opponents. So, we will see…let’s move on and see what the next game requires.”

As for whether the young players did enough to send him a message, Arteta admitted they’d proven he could trust them.

“It doesn’t matter if you are young or a senior player you are here to contribute,” the manager continued. “And I think it’s a great message for everybody that when we have to rely on them, we know we can rely on them. We don’t have any doubts about that.”

LONDON, ENGLAND: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal is greeted by Joe Willock of Arsenal on December 26, 2020. (Photo by Andrew Boyers – Pool/Getty Images)

With Smith Rowe and Martinelli both coming off early, it’s very possible we see some of the young players again in the Brighton clash on Tuesday. The Arsenal fans will certainly hope so.