Arsenal’s youngsters are showing more determination to confirm title ambitions

Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Liverpool not only put them back at the top of the Premier League but showed that Mikel Arteta’s side have added backbone and confidence to their exciting football, finally making them title contenders.

Arsenal were at times one of the Premier League’s most exciting teams, but were notable for their mental fragility and tendency to crumble against top opponents. No longer. In a vibrant game against Jurgen Klopp’s side, who pushed Manchester City to the hilt in last season’s title race, they bounced back twice after giving up the lead to move up top. It was only the second time Arsenal have beaten Liverpool in the Premier League in seven years, but the performance confirmed the team’s newfound resolve.

In their fourth straight home game in the league, they have either fallen behind or conceded an equaliser, but still won, beating Fulham, Aston Villa and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur before their latest scandal.

“I’ve seen a team I really identify with, the personality they show in difficult moments,” Arteta said. Arsenal have been known for producing young players since Arsene Wenger took over as manager in 1996, although their lack of success since their last league title in 2004 has often been down to a lack of experienced players. But Arteta’s team is also characterized by their youthful nature. The average age of their starting XI on Sunday was 24, with goalscorers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka both 21.

The difference between this side and the underperforming teams towards the end of Wenger’s reign is their experience. Martinelli made his debut in 2019 while Saka has been a regular since the 2019-20 season. The winger missed England’s final penalty in the final shoot-out of Euro 2020 but barely flinched as he stepped forward to score the decisive goal against Liverpool from the point.

IMPROBABLE FORTRESS

Another factor in Arsenal’s rise this season has been the attitude of the fans, who have turned their turf into an unlikely fortress, winning all six games there in all competitions this season. Arsenal’s former stadium, Highbury, has been jokingly referred to as the library by rival fans, and the 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium, which they moved into in 2006, has also been derided for lacking atmosphere and with fans leaving early or attacking their own players Results went against them.

How times change. The home fans rose to rally their side after Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez equalized on Sunday and Arteta said the fans played a big part in the win. “I’ve never seen it like that,” adds the manager.

“You can’t imagine how much it helps the players and the trust and trust, the support it gives us. It’s one of the nicest things we’ve done since we’ve been here together – uniting everyone and feeling like we can come here and have some experiences.”



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