Mikel Arteta turned to Arsenal academy prospects Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock to grind out a win against Southampton.
The Spanish tactician chose to drop undisciplined Guendouzi as well as leave Ozil and Lacazette on the bench.
It was by no means vintage or a dominant performance by Arsenal. “But, as they say, a win is a win, and right now, Mikel Arteta will take it any way he can.
In the tenth minute, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang missed a glorious opportunity.
But in the 20th minute, 21-year-old Nketiah repaid his manager’s faith and showed his mentor how it was done. He pounced on a keeper error to get a goal and the lead for the Gunners.
As the visitors desperately hung on to their lead, Arteta decided enough was enough. He replaced club-record signing Pepe with 20-year-old Willock.
The youngster did not disappoint.
In the 86th minute, he grabbed a crucial goal that gave Arsenal the cushion they needed to see the game through to the end.
Much like Nketiah he used his predatory instincts to capitalize on another howler from McCarthy in the Southampton goal.
Arteta gets his win.
But could he be on to something? Should the Gunners follow the Solskjaer and Lampard model and make the focus of his rebuild on academy players or will he spend big like his old boss Guardiola?