Arsenal ‘can’t rely on our name’ as youngsters stand tall

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Youngsters Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli all played and stood tall as Arsenal ground out a 0-0 draw at Everton on Saturday.

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Established stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette struggled, while Nicolas Pepe and Mesut Ozil have been inconsistent all season. Maybe it is time for the kids to rescue Arsenal…

It wasn’t pretty but it will provide new manager Mikel Arteta, who was watching on from the stands, with the belief that this squad can dig deep to turn things around and get back in the top four hunt.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, interim coach Freddie Ljungberg revealed that he was delighted with how his young side played and they will need to put in plenty more gritty displays under Arteta.

“I was very happy. We had a very young side out there because I wanted energy and I wanted to give them chances. We dominated possession and chances, and you could see Everton getting tired and frustrated,” Ljungberg said. “I thought we could have won the game with the chances we had. But I loved the spirit we saw and that’s what you need in the Premier League. I wanted to see people that would run and fight for the team. We can’t rely on our name – we have to fight and do the dirty things.”

Arsenal have talent and they have enough to be in the top four hunt, but the one thing which can be questioned is their determination and focus.

You couldn’t fault that from their youngsters on Saturday against a fired-up Everton side who were playing in front of their own new manager watching from the stands, Carlo Ancelotti. At times their play was sloppy but the determination was there.

Arsenal and Arteta will need that in abundance going forward and it seems like his succinct and impressive first press conference on Friday struck a chord with the players.