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William Gallas Exclusive: Arsenal Need Mix Of Youth And Experience

William Gallas Exclusive: Arsenal Need Mix Of Youth And Experience

Former Arsenal defender William Gallas feels that Mikel Arteta must find a way of balancing the youth and experience in his squad – if the Gunners want to maintain their impressive form. The North Londoners are sitting inside the top four after securing a comfortable 4-1 victory against Leeds on Saturday, where 21-year-old Emile Smith Rowe was their oldest goalscorer. Well over half of the team's top-flight goals this season have been scored by players aged 23 and under, but Gallas fears that trusting in youth is a risky strategy.



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Experience And Youth

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “For me, when I look at teams, especially upfront and at the back, I always want to see a mix of players with experience and young players. 

“Some managers like to avoid confrontation with experienced players. They prefer to have younger players, because sometimes it’s easier to manage them and it’s easier to make some decisions. 

“I don’t know if that is good and I am unsure if that is Arteta’s approach. 

“As a manager, you have to show who you are and that you have authority. If you have to make a decision – even in front of the experienced players – it should not matter, you are the boss.

“With young players, they don’t have the experience and you need some experienced players – to be ready, to be alongside them and support them, when you have to play against a strong team, who understand the pressure. 

“That is what a manager has to understand and Arteta has to understand that. He used to be a player and he knows you have to be ready to manage experienced and young players. 

“You have to find the mix. Right now, many will feel the experienced players are not stepping up as much as the younger players.”




Top Four Aspirations

After a slow start to the campaign, Arteta’s side have found their feet of late and are currently in contention to claim a coveted Champions League berth.

Gallas believes the jury is still out on the 39-year-old head coach, but that he will deserve plenty of credit if he achieves a top-four finish.

“We should always judge players and managers on their performance at the end of the season,” he explained.

“What many now expect from Arteta is to qualify for the Champions League this season, that’s why it’s difficult to speak right now. 

“I will say a really good position is to finish in the top four.

“West Ham are still up there and that has surprised everybody, Manchester United have a new coach and, at the beginning of the season, everyone expected them to be in the top four. 

“So, it won’t be easy. I’m a little bit worried about Arsenal and where they may end up. 

“They have to qualify for the Champions League, with no European football this season as a distraction. 

“Arteta needs to do everything he can to get his players and his team playing. 

“When they have to play against a big club, they have to give a better performance and find a way to win.” 

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