Out with the outdated, in with the brand new?
Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, and Bernd Leno with a late penalty save made positive that end-of-year-mantra didn’t fairly match Arsenal’s massive Boxing Day win over Chelsea however their streak-busting victory over their London rivals was pushed by an injection of youth.
After no Premier League win in seven and a Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat just some days earlier than Christmas, Arsenal have been on their knees going into this one. Defeat would have piled the stress onto boss Mikel Arteta and left the Gunners wobbling above the relegation zone.
With centre-back Gabriel absent because of coronavirus laws, Willian and David Luiz unwell, and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang match sufficient just for the bench after his current calf downside, Arteta’s Arsenal squad was uncovered, too. He had no possibility however to show to the subsequent technology.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Chelsea in the Premier League
Twenty-year-old Emile Smith Rowe, together with 19-year-old pair Gabriel Martinelli and man of the match Bukayo Saka, rose to the problem – and, crucially, pulled their team-mates together with them.
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The toothless, wounded Arsenal we’ve change into conversant in in the previous few months was reinvigorated by these three gifted, energised gamers in the attacking positions behind Lacazette.
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville praised Arsenal’s enthusiasm, their urgency. His colleague Alex Scott applauded their spark, their vitality – and, importantly, the connections these younger gamers dropped at Arsenal’s attacking play. The Gunners have been revitalised.
The starvation of Smith Rowe and Martinelli was plain to see in the primary half on the Emirates. The pair have been making their first Premier League begins of the season and introduced drive to Arsenal’s play.
In 4 of their previous 5 home video games, Arsenal have been behind inside 25 minutes. On Saturday they got here out of the traps with intent.
“It was different from the last few games, we started really, really well,” mentioned Arteta afterwards. “We were on top and that elevated the level of confidence of the team.”
Arsenal's younger trio deliver the vitality
- Emile Smith Rowe ran additional than any participant on the pitch in the primary half: 5.74km
- Bukayo Saka ran additional than any participant on the pitch throughout the 90 minutes: 11.49km
- Gabriel Martinelli made extra sprints than any participant on the pitch throughout the 90 minutes: 20
Smith Rowe ran additional than every other participant on the pitch in the opening 45 minutes as he, in Neville’s phrases, “more than held his own” in opposition to N’Golo Kante. Meanwhile, no participant may high Martinelli’s 12 sprints in that first interval.
Saka, who would end the sport having coated extra floor than anybody else, made “Chelsea look like old men,” in response to Neville.
Smith Rowe and Saka (first and second left) rejoice Arsenal's third purpose
The teenage England worldwide as soon as once more demonstrated his significance to this aspect – each now and for the years forward. It was one in every of his many mazy runs which drew the free-kick for Xhaka to curve house a pleasant second, and one other which led to his cross-shot looping in past Edouard Mendy for Arsenal’s third.
Teenage Saka strikes in opposition to Chelsea
Saka is the youngest Englishman to attain for Arsenal in opposition to Chelsea since Theo Walcott in the 2007 League Cup remaining.
Smith Rowe acquired the help for that one, and it appeared Saka was in search of Martinelli on the again submit.
Mikel Arteta instructed Sky Sports earlier than kick-off that you simply want “personality” in addition to high quality in these massive video games. This younger trio confirmed each attributes in abundance.
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Perhaps it was solely Martinelli marching off the pitch a bit sore – from a blow to his again and a handful of missed possibilities from his game-high 4 photographs. His boss, although, would have been delighted together with his contribution.
The hope now for Arteta shall be that his crew – with this mix of youth and expertise – can use this morale-boosting win as a launchpad.
Next up in the league are Brighton, West Brom, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle. Four groups round Arsenal in the desk, however 4 sides they are going to be favourites to beat to drag themselves up the standings.
For the primary time in a very long time, there may be now hope at Arsenal of constructing some constructive momentum.
Arteta can thank his younger, rising stars for restoring that perception.
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