Graeme Souness delivers sack warning to Mikel Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s Tottenham victory

Arsenal’s young stars stole the show as Mikel Arteta’s side beat Tottenham 3-1, but the manager has been warned he is taking a risk by putting so much faith in youth. Graeme Souness said ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash that Arteta could face the sack before seeing his recent signings fulfil their potential.

Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard all starred as Arsenal saw off Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the North London derby.

Academy products Smith Rowe and Saka both scored either side of a strike from Pierre-Emerick Auabemeyang, while Odegaard pulled the strings against a Tottenham midfield that was almost non-existent.

All six of the manager’s signings this summer aged 23 or under, and the win over Spurs appeared to be a vindication of Arteta’s faith in his young talents.

However, ahead of the derby Souness said the Gunners boss was taking a risk by putting his trust in so many players who are still learning the game.

MATCH REACTION: Mikel Arteta lays down challenge to Arsenal players after Spurs win

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Gunners legend Tony Adams had spoken of how youngsters such as Saka and Smith Rowe have become leaders thanks to their impressive performances.

And his fellow Sky Sports pundit Souness said so much emphasis on youth was a gamble.

“Arsenal are a big worry for me,” he said. “They’re buying young players – you introduce young players into a team that’s organised, it’s winning, it’s playing with a bit of confidence.

“Tony alluded to it, they’re bringing young guys in and wanting them to be main men. That’s never good.”


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Souness added: “It concerns me. Was their plan at the start of the season, ‘the way we can take this club forward is buy young players and they might be players in two, three years’?

He said Arteta might not be given that long, adding: “This club won’t stand for that – the manager won’t stay here for a two-year wait.

“Time is not your friend when you’re a manager and both of these managers find themselves under pressure, five games in.

“These are big football clubs, these two teams should be at the higher end of the Premier League they shouldn’t be where they are, down near the bottom.”

Arsenal made light of Souness’s fears as they dismantled Spurs thanks to a thrilling first-half attacking performance.

Odegaard was instrumental in breaking the deadlock when he fed Saka, whose cutback found an unmarked Smith Rowe arriving in the box to fire home.

Smith Rowe then set up Aubameyang for the second, before Saka got on the scoresheet when he finished off a counter-attack after Harry Kane slipped in possession.

Time will tell whether Arsenal’s young guns can replicate their performance, with Brighton, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Leeds and Leicester their opponents through October.

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