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Arsenal dug deep to grind out a second straight Premier League win away at Brighton on Tuesday night, with Mikel Arteta’s young Gunners pulling out all the stops after the interval.
The north London club picked up their first victory in almost two months at home to Chelsea on Boxing Day, running out comfortable winners against their bitter rivals thanks to inspired performances from several academy graduates.
And after dazzling against the Blues, Arteta unleashed his new-look attacking-midfield trio of Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in their clash with Brighton at the Amex.
It proved a difficult opening 45 minutes for Arsenal, who rode their luck at times to deny Brighton what would have been a deserved first-half lead.
But after the interval the visitors appeared rejuvenated, creating a number of decent opportunities through the good work of their youthful attack before substitute Alexandre Lacazette netted the vital winner 25 minutes from time.
The Frenchman’s goal was a product of Saka’s mazy run down the right-hand side, which eventually presented him with the perfect opportunity to open the scoring.
Having taken the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, it was nothing less than Arsenal deserved and Arteta may have found a winning formula in the shape of his homegrown starlets.
£72million acquisition Nicolas Pepe and summer recruit Willian have proved far too inconsistent this season, meaning Martinelli and Smith Rowe could keep them out of the side along with Saka, who cemented his status as a key starter last term.
And Arsenal fans have taken to social media to wax lyrical about Arteta’s new strategy.
One wrote: “Smith Rowe, Saka and Martinelli are the three young kings of the Emirates”.
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Another commented: “Bukayo Saka! I've said it before, and I'll say it again. He's an absolute star. Great future ahead of him. Smith Rowe also excellent again. 3 big talents, with Martinelli included.”
“Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe are becoming untouchable,” said a third.
While one posted: “@Arsenal protect Saka with everything u have. Him, Martinelli & Smith Rowe.”
- Arsenal FC
- Mikel Arteta
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