Mikel Arteta says the 3-1 win over Chelsea is proof that Arsenal’s youngsters can make a vital contribution to the club this season.
At an average age of 25 years and 42 days, the Gunners starting lineup on Boxing Day, which featured the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka was, according to Opta, the youngest to win a Premier League game in more than eight years.
While the boss was coy on whether the performances of the trio sent a message to some of his underperforming experienced stars, he did take the opportunity to highlight the importance of every member of his first team squad.
“I think there’s a message within the squad that everybody’s important here, everybody’s here to contribute, and everybody’s useful,” he told his post-game press conference.
“It doesn’t matter if you are young or a senior player, everybody’s here to contribute.
“And I think it’s a great message for everybody that when we have to rely on them, we know that we can rely on them and we don’t have any doubts about them.”
It remains to be seen whether Arteta keeps faith with youth for the trip to Brighton, but he’s certainly hoping the win against the Blues serves as a blueprint for the level of performance required.
“I’ve seen a lot of things that I really liked from the start,” he reflected.
“One of them is the courage that we have to play and the energy that we showed and how aggressive we were with the ball and the energy that the team was transmitting in a football match.
“We were very direct, we were playing forward and we were really attacking. There was a lot of movement, the spaces were always occupied and we were a threat in behind. There were a lot of things. But it depends on the players, it depends on the opponents but on Saturday it was close to a lot of things that we want, for sure.”