Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal will stand by young gunners regardless of finish

The Gunners are battling Tottenham for a Champions League spot on the final day

Pa Sport Staff
Saturday 21 May 2022 22:30
Comments
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will stick by their young players (Nick Potts/PA)
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will stick by their young players (Nick Potts/PA)

Mikel Arteta plans to stand by Arsenal’s kids even if they miss out on Champions League football this weekend.

The Gunners go into the final day of the Premier League season needing to beat Everton at home and hoping Norwich can stun Tottenham at Carrow Road to secure an unlikely fourth-place finish.

Arsenal had been in the driving seat to clinch Champions League football at the beginning of May when they moved four points clear of Spurs but back-to-back defeats means Arteta’s young side look set to have to settle for the Europa League.

Many critics have suggested more experience is required in the playing group at the Emirates but the 40-year-old Spaniard has no intention of a big overhaul.

“They are not going to be kids for the rest of their lives, next season they will be more mature than they are this season and you have to start somewhere with those kids,” Arteta insisted.

“What we cannot say is we want to use academy players and do that but then the moment where something goes a little bit wrong then we are not going to do anything with them.

Arsenal have the youngest squad in the Premier League (Adam Davy/PA)

“I am so grateful for what they have done, what they have brought to the team and to the club, especially in this moment.

“We are going to stick with them and give them exactly what they need because they deserve that.”

Arsenal boast the youngest squad in the Premier League and only trimmed the average age further with the departure of 32-year-old Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.

Arsenal could lose strike duo Alexandre Lacazette (left) and Eddie Nketiah this summer (John Walton/PA)

It has opened the door for Eddie Nketiah to take his chance but with his future still undecided and Alexandre Lacazette set to move on, Arteta knows the club will need to make investment this summer.

He feels a handful of “top-quality” additions will be key, adding: “It is all about the balance.

“Now we have cleared the deck and now we have a squad balance that is much more like what we want and much more affordable than what we had before.

“Now we have to start to add the top-quality pieces that they are not necessarily at 18, 19 or 20-years-old.

“We will do what it takes to get better in every department. Not only the age group but in terms of the quality, in terms of the leadership, in terms of the goal threat of this team, in terms of the physicality of the team that we need to improve as well so there are a lot of areas.”

Champions League football would no doubt help Arsenal attract the world-class players they want but it realistically requires already-relegated Norwich to claim only their fourth league win at home this term.

The Canaries have also struggled to find the net at Carrow Road but Arteta was in good spirits at Friday’s press conference.

“They are keeping the goals for Sunday,” Arteta said with a smile.

“We were in Tottenham’s position (with pressure) a few days ago and we lost the opportunity. Now it is down to them to lose it.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in