Mikel Arteta says that the similarities in ages between many of the first team squad are helping them during a period when the team is coming together.
The Gunners brought in six players during the transfer window, all of whom were between 21 and 23 years of age. In Friday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa, five of them started, with the other coming on as a sub, and there’s expected to be more during Tuesday evening’s Carabao Cup game against Leeds.
Speaking ahead of that game, the Arsenal boss was asked about the age profile of his squad, and said, “The group age is a little bit closer so they are experiencing most of the same things and they talk a lot about it.
“Then we have the senior players that they have to lead and they have to take that role, and they are doing that in a different way. Leading is not telling someone what he needs to do, for me it is being able to transform that person and not just with words, but with facts as well.
“There are players now that on that pitch that they are able to transmit something and change certain behaviours and attitudes in other players. That is contagious, and for me that is leadership.
“It’s incredible that we are the youngest team in this league and many of the experiences they are going through, they have never experienced before. So the more positive they are, the more confidence that will build.
“When a player is more confident, he fulfils his potential much quicker and much better and it only generates a better atmosphere. Sometimes when you are in a good mood, you make better decisions.”
Arteta was also pleased about the relationship being built between the team and the fans in the stadium, after a long period during which they were absent.
“I was extremely pleased with that,” he said. “Because I can now see that our supporters are starting to identify with what the team projects and that is very pleasing because at the end of the day we play for them, and you have to find the right purpose to do so.
“I think the players felt that connection behind them,when scoring a goal, it was right from the beginning and right to the end and if we can generate that every single time we play at the Emirates, it’s very powerful for us and very difficult for the opponent.”
Let’s hope we can keep things going tomorrow, with some rotation expected – including a start for Gabriel Martinelli.