Martin Keown urges Arteta to “manage the energy levels of his young players”

There is no doubt that Arsenal looked like a completely different side yesterday with the younsters Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith Rowe in the starting line-up. The changes were partly forced upon Mikel Arteta due to Covid-19 protocols, but it completely transformed the attitude and enthusiasm in the side.

Chelsea didn’t really get into the game until 20 minutes from the end, and Martin Keown believes this was because Arteta decided to take a couple of our young stars off, hopefully to protect them with games still coming upo thick and fast in the coming week. Keown said in his column in the Mail: “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.”

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.

He is right of course, as the youngsters energy is not bottomless and it would be better to limit their game time so we can carry on getting the best out of them, especially as Martinelli and Smith-Rowe have only recently returned from long injury lay-offs.

As much as we don’t want to see our best players being substituted, Arteta has to find a sensible balance to keep them all fit and fresh…

Tags Bukayo Saka Emile Smith Rowe Gabriel Martinelli


  1. Completely agree with this. All the positivity would dissipate if one of these guys got hurt because of being pushed too hard. We need to look after them. I’m just hopeful they are setting an example for the rest of the squad. Reiss Nelson should be brought back into the fold.

  2. ‘Martinelli’s closing down was missed’.
    It certainly was, and Pepe dithered for most of the rest of the game when he came on, whereas AMN would have had far more energy and defensive nous (if that was what Arteta was looking for).
    This was a game that initially swung towards us on the finest of margins; if Mount’s early free kick had hit the other side of the post and our penalty not given. It was Arsenal’s day and Leno more or less secured the points for us late on.

  3. It just means we have a so called strong bench in;

    Gabriel & Partey still to come into the fold, Elneny & Holding to drop out. Mari & Xhaka to keep their places.
    Saliba needs to be in the squads and let Mustafi, Papa & Kolasnic go for smal fees in Jan. Mesut too if possible.

    Saka SmithRowe Martinelli

    Thats the front 4 we go with from now on. Even Nelson to come on instead of the others as he actually tries! Get Matteo back also as he is what we need also with his youth, energy & dare I say balls to have a go. A certain Patrick Vieira was the same.

    Mikel needs to manage these youngsters and get the old guard out. The future is in the youth for Arsenal, Utds class of 92 ring any bells. Have to start somewhere again this has to be the time where Arsenal has a young crop of hopeful superstars in the making.

    Maybe I’m wrong but seems the best way forward as the players on massive wages who came for big fees aren’t cutting it for Arsenal. When they start to care about playing for this historic club instead of money/fame, we will see changes just like the youngsters do and are showing them, at least v a top side in Chelsea, how it’s done and how to play for the Badge.

  4. Keown is of course highly expeienced and is correct in saying weneed to preserve energy levels. But energy levels are what wins games , so there is a dilemma.

    When Pepe came on, the energy levels drooped substantially and made a difference to the play, though thankfully, not the result.

    I constantly bang on, boringly, over the top, irritatingly – jeez I ALSO IRRITATE MYSELF, but only to bang home the OBVIOUS truth, that workrate is massively important. It is why I cannot stand Ozil, nor Walcott, when he played!

    Martinelli, Tierney ,Saka and some others made a huge difference in output , sheer energy, workrate, will to win; all are basically the same thing .

    But it IS a massive advantage to have hungry players and we beat Chelsea , who man for man are superior, by sheer energy, which THEY lacked bigtime. Does not that show even the OZIL LOVERS THE STUPIDITY OF LAUDING COASTERS AND IDLE PLAYRS?

    It ought to, but some are so in thrall to what he once was and convince themselves he is still like that . He is not and has not been for several sesons. Youth is our new weapon , youth and energy.


  5. Absolutely right I agree with you because the way these young stars play football for me i can see only team spirit hardworking .and they have that winning mentality arteta need to put on them too much Time to get the best .

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