Arteta maintains the youngsters need to earn their place in his team

Arsenal secured a fine 4-1 win against Molde last night to secure top spot in our Group with 9 points out of 9, despite going behind to an early goal as usual.

To be honest we were expecting Arteta to pick more of our youngsters to start the game, but in the end he picked a very strong team and only Willock and Nketiah took to the field that could be classed as youngsters.

Willock gave an excellent performance, and after the game Arteta made it clear on that he wouldn’t pick youngsters simply because of the weakness of the opposition, but maintained that they had to earn the right to play ahead of the more experienced members of the squad.

He started by talking about Willock of course. “Yeah, I think he was really strong in his performance. I think the way he’s approaching every opportunity, also how mature he is. I saw his press conference as well and I was impressed by the way he’s communicating as well. He is developing the right way, he is a player that I really like, he has some very special qualities. He deserves every minute he’s been playing and he’s showing it with performances, with goals and with his attitude.”

“Well the thing is that we have a big squad at the moment, but I said to Joe that I really trust him. This is a competition that we are not [just using] to give young players a chance, it is a competition that we are taking really seriously and we want to play players who are in the best possible shape to give us a performance that we need, and Joe is one of them.”

He was then asked if he should give more chances to youngsters that have not had much game time, and he replied: “If you look at the numbers of how much the young players have played since I joined, I don’t think it’s a question that we can raise to ourselves. Eddie was on loan, he wasn’t playing and now he’s playing. Bukayo wasn’t playing the minutes that he is playing under me, the same with Joe. Reiss didn’t play today because he was injured. If not he would have started the game tonight again.

“The good thing is that they’re not just young players so we have to give them the opportunity, they have to earn that right to play and they are doing that. That’s a really positive thing and how lucky we are to have this generation. We [have to] develop them in the right way and the right way sometimes is giving them the opportunities when they deserve it. If not they don’t play and it’s the best way for them to learn the standards that are required at this football club. If not then you are not good enough to play here. When they show it they have to start. We have a few examples of that and they start every week.”

So, that is setting them all a big challenge to prove on the training pitch that they deserve their chances, even in the minor cup games. It is obvious that Arteta wants to instil a competitive winning culture in the side, and I think he is doing that very well at the moment, don’t you?

Tags Nketiah Willock


  1. Couldn’t have said it any better… Imagine giving youngsters chances because you think the opposition is weak.
    These kids needs to earn it in the first place so they’ll know they must fight to keep it.
    If it’s handed over to them on a platter of gold then where’s the urge to fight and prove they deserve it?
    Saka earned his spot, and he’s kept it by fighting and turning up daily.
    Martinelli will do and prove more when he gets back.
    Eddie’s still struggling it’s why Lacazette is the one starting league games.
    Willock still needs to do more, same with Nelson.
    Can’t be spoiling these kids and letting them know they’ll start games just because it’s the UEL.
    The carabao and the FA cup is there for that

  2. What I like about Arteta is that he makes young players realise the importance of their place in the squad and he has a way of telling them not to take anything for granted. Now I know why Nelson was not playing, he is injured. Hope he recovers soon. As for Pepe, I wonder what he is up to, one moment he seems to be lost and the other moment he seems to be a gem of a player by scoring and assisting goals and as MA said, he needs to be more consistent in his play.

  3. Pepe, his goal apart, was awful last night. BUT, to his credit, he never hides and never stops trying. Unfortunately for him he is drawing comparisons to Iwobi, and look how long he lasted.
    I just cannot work out what’s wrong with him. He has blistering pace but I cannot recall a single time he used it to take him past a player. Is this what happens to the “inverted” wingers? Mahrez does it effectively from wide right, and he is not as quick as Pepe. It’s something MA needs to work on as I believe there’s a very good player here, but how long will the player get under a manager who will not wait forever?

    1. Phil, Could not agree with all you said more than I do. Pepe IS a talented player but is just not doing it, save in odd moments of blinding talent here and there But that is next to useless, UNLESS he can gain consistency.

      The point is though, WHEN, OR EVEN WILL, HE DO SO? I just don’t see MA letting the grass grow too long on Pepe, so either he shapes up THIS season or he will, IMO, be shipped out next summer. I see this ruthless and vitally necessary streak in MA, as one sees in all top managers and am thrilled to see it!

    2. i completely disagree . Players like Iwobi , Mhykiterian suffered because of a certain player and the lack of coaches whpo knew how to use them . We see what Gervinho is doing in Italy , Bennacer ,look even Podolski was not used to his full potential .
      The case of Pepe is his price tag .A 72 million player should be spectacular .
      A certain 350k player is also judged too harshly as well.

      The idea of having Grealish in our team wont be bad .

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