MARTIN KEOWN: Mikel Arteta’s young Gunners showed up slack Chelsea stars, now he must stick to his youthful approach at Arsenal and manage the energy of his bright attacking options
The youthful energy at the top of the Arsenal team was refreshing to see. Mikel Arteta didn’t have uninterested players on the pitch. He had youngsters playing for the shirt with a burning desire to make their mark.
Gabriel Martinelli on the left and Bukayo Saka on the right went at their opponents and acted as inverted wingers.
That allowed Arsenal’s full backs to fly forward, with Kieran Tierney brilliant at left back. Tierney played with real determination to get the job done and Martinelli matched his endeavour in front of him on that wing.
Youthful exuberance paid off for Arsenal as they earned a much-needed win against Chelsea
The Gunners blasted the Blues away via a comprehensive 3-1 victory on home turf on Saturday
Arsenal’s work off the ball didn’t give Chelsea a chance. Emile Smith Rowe is clearly a very good technical player. He is intelligent in his passing and more than held his own against a talented side.
Let’s not dispute Saka’s goal either — if he says he meant it, then I believe him! It was a fantastic finish, with the way he shaped to curl it into the corner.
Arteta must stick with this approach. There was a simplicity to it. The back four were solid and the two wide men were cutting inside and causing problems for Chelsea.
Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown says Mikel Arteta must have the bottle to stick with his side
Smith Rowe was removed after 65 minutes, and Martinelli after 71. That was when Arsenal endured their most difficult period of the match. Their work-rate dropped. Martinelli’s closing down was missed.
Arteta knows he has to manage the energy levels of his young players, given how demanding the Christmas schedule is.
But the good news for the Arsenal manager is they were able to see out the win and he can turn to these kids again. They brought something special to the team.
Stars including Gabriel Martinelli ensured that Arteta enjoyed home comforts and three points
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