Arsenal icon Smith urges Arteta to "throw in" four youngsters to face Burnley

Alan Smith has urged Mikel Arteta to include Arsenal's talented crop of youngsters in Sunday's Premier League clash with Burnley.

The Gunners are in a run of torrid form in the Premier League and find themselves 15th in the table after losing three of their last four matches.

But one competition where they have excelled is the Europa League, where Arteta has made a habit of heavily rotating his team and handing the club's academy graduates opportunities.

The latest example of this came in the 4-2 win at Dundalk on Thursday, where 21-year-olds Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock and 19-year-old Folarin Balogun scored.

With Arsenal's senior first-team stars faltering, Gunners legend Smith has called on Arteta to hand his starlets more opportunities in the top flight.

"Standing on the sideline at Dundalk last night, Arteta saw some young players busting a gut to impress, eager to make a mark at senior level," Smith told the Evening Standard .

"We’re talking about youngsters with lots of potential such as Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith-Rowe, a player rated very highly by many at the club.

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"Would it be out of the question to throw some in on Sunday to offer fresh ideas and enthusiasm? I mean, we’re talking about Burnley, not Bayern Munich.

"That’s not to disrespect Sean Dyche’s side, a team struggling just now but one that could easily embarrass the Gunners.

"Fighting for their lives, the visitors won’t lack for passion and spirit.

"If Arsenal don’t match that, the situation could get worse. Because of that, maybe it’s time for Arteta to make a statement by picking the kids.

"It’s not usually the answer, despite what fans claim. But on this occasion, the move might just inject more life and motivation."

Which youngsters would you like to see start for Arsenal against Burnley? Have your say here.

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