Mikel Arteta plans to stand by the Arsenal kids even if they miss Champions League football this weekend.
The Gunners head 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.
Arsenal had been in the driver’s seat to win Champions League football when they fell four points clear of Spurs in early May, but back-to-back defeats mean Arteta’s young side will have to settle for the Europa League.
Many critics have suggested more experience is needed in the Emirates playgroup but the 40-year-old Spaniard has no intentions of making a major overhaul.
“They’re not going to be kids for the rest of their lives, next season they’re going to be more mature than this season, and you have to start somewhere with those kids,” Arteta pointed out.
“What we can’t say is that we want to use academy players and we do that, but the moment something goes a little bit wrong we won’t do anything with them.
We will stay with them and give them exactly what they need because they deserve it.Mikel Arteta
“I am so grateful for what they have done, what they have brought to the team and the club, especially at this moment.
“We’re going to stay with them and give them exactly what they need because they deserve it.”
Arsenal have the youngest squad in the Premier League and only reduced the average age further with the departure of 32-year-old Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January.
It has opened the door for Eddie Nketiah to take his chance but with his future still undecided and Alexandre Lacazette looking to move on, Arteta knows the club need to make investments this summer.
He believes a handful of “quality” supplements will be key, adding, “It’s all about balance.
“Now we’ve cleared the deck and now we have a roster balance that’s a lot more to what we want and a lot more affordable than what we had before.
“Now we have to start adding the high quality pieces that aren’t necessarily 18, 19 or 20 years old.
“We will do everything to get better in all areas. Not only in terms of age group, but also in terms of quality, in terms of leadership, in terms of the scoring potential of this team, in terms of the team’s physique, which we also need to improve on, so there are many areas . “
Champions League football would no doubt help Arsenal attract the world-class players they want, but realistically relegated Norwich will need only their fourth league win at home this season.
💬 “I’m focused on winning the game and I hope we can still achieve Champions League football.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 20, 2022
The Canaries also struggled to find the net at Carrow Road but Arteta was in good spirits at Friday’s press conference.
“They keep the goals for Sunday,” Arteta said with a smile.
“We were in Tottenham’s position (with pressure) a couple of days ago and missed the opportunity. Now it’s up to them to lose it.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/mikel-arteta-insists-arsenal-will-stand-by-young-gunners-regardless-of-finish-41674943.html Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal will stand by young gunners regardless of the finish