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