Mikel Arteta Reveals Arsenal's Europa League Youngsters Could Start in Premier League

Jamie Spencer
Dec 11, 2020, 9:00 AM GMT
Mikel Arteta is prepared to give younger players a chance
Mikel Arteta is prepared to give younger players a chance | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta has admitted that he could turn to some of the players who helped Arsenal to a 100% record in the Europa League group stage – the only side to do so in the competition – in the Premier League, where the team has struggled.

The Gunners beat Irish champions Dundalk 4-2 on Thursday night to take their group stage points to tally to 18 from the games. In stark contrast, the Gunners have lost five of their last seven Premier League fixtures and languish 15th in the table a sizeable chunk into the season.

Arsenal have been much better in the Europa League
Arsenal have been much better in the Europa League | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Arteta has used a number of younger or second string players in the Europa League and has revealed those that have performed so well in Europe could be given more chances in the Premier League.

That includes the likes of Eddie Nketiah, who started all six Europa League group games but has been waiting since early October for his next Premier League start. Joe Willock, Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe are others who have impressed in Europe.

Arteta explained after the win over Dundalk that the temporary end of the Europa League until February when the knockout rounds begin will mean there is more opportunity to rotate his Premier League team – without having to keep an eye on midweek fixtures.

“Now we have to forget about the Europa League because that's in February. We need to focus strongly in the Premier League and in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup when it starts in January,” the Spaniard said, via Arsenal.com.

“We need everybody on board, we obviously have a large squad at the moment with players back from the injury, so we'll have the opportunity to pick who is better in the moment and still rotate some players. But it gives us more options in the Premier League, to focus there and try and get the results we need,” he added.

“[Smith Rowe] hasn't played many games and he's playing in a position that doesn't suit him perfectly with his qualities. But you can see that every time he is around the ball something is going to happen. He has a lot of creativity, he's a player who has the quality to receive the ball and do things in areas where there are high-value spaces after it gets opened.

“[Balogun] has done really well. Every minute he’s been on that field he’s been superb and he looked a threat again. He scored a goal and set up another one, and he looked really lively and mature on the pitch.”

Balogun has impressed in Europe
Balogun has impressed in Europe | Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Arsenal are back in action in the Premier League on Sunday when the host Burnley at the Emirates Stadium, while they will learn their next Europa League opponents when the last 32 draw is made on Monday 14 December.

“There's a chance for everybody [to play against Burnley],” Arteta said.

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