Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal's win over Tottenham
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Tony Adams has warned Arsenal not to rely too heavily on starlets such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe to guide them to victory. The pair played a pivotal role in helping the Gunners roar to an emphatic 3-1 win over rivals Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.
Smith Rowe tormented the Tottenham defence for the first half an hour of the contest with his direct running on the counter attack and set swept home from Saka’s cross to open the scoring.
The 20-year-old then set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a clever cutback to double the advantage inside the first 20 minutes.
And Saka then put the game beyond doubt with a sublime solo goal before Heung-min Son’s late consolation.
It means that Mikel Arteta’s side have now won three games in a row following their worst-ever start to a domestic season, which saw them slump to the bottom of the Premier League.
Adams, who was working at the game as a pundit for Sky Sports, was delighted with the young pair’s contribution.
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But he has urged Arsenal’s more senior players to step up more frequently to ease the burden on the academy graduates.
“Him and Saka, for me think the issues are physically to be honest,” Adams said, speaking on Sky Sports.
“Saka had a great Euros, these kids in effect carried the club and I just think they might run out of steam and going down the road, you can’t depend on a 19 and a 20-year-old to get you out of trouble every week.
“You’re going to come up against better teams than Tottenham Hotspur, they were terrible first half, absolutely terrible.”
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A key aspect of Arsenal’s victory was how the hosts broke in numbers on multiple occasions on the counter attack to expose Tottenham’s defence.
And Adams was keen to commendd Arteta on his tactical plan as Arsenal proved clinical in taking their chances.
“The kids are bringing life and enthusiasm then you saw they’re on the front foot from the start,” he added.
“The set-up was the best I’ve seen, Tommy [Tomiyasu] isn’t playing right-wing, he’s actually staying in here.
“They’ve had better shape which gives you a platform for the kids to do stuff. My only worry is depending on them too much to take this team forward.”
Arteta disagreed with Adams’ argument and suggested that senior players such as Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey led the team, while 33-year-old Aubameyang scored his first goal of the season.
“It was probably the exact mix we needed, the senior players have stepped in, they dominated the game the way they worked today,” he said after the game.
“The leadership of Granit, Thomas, the senior players and then the youth they are full of enthusiasm, bite and good energy.”
Arsenal have moved above Tottenham on goal difference in the Premier League table both sides’ contrasting fortunes over the past three games.
The Gunners face a tough trip to in-form Brighton next on October 2 before the two-week international break.
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