Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been urged to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench and stick with the kids after their impressive Boxing Day victory over Chelsea.
Darren Bent has hailed teenage stars Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli and believes they should keep their place in the team at the captains expense after their brilliant showing at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenals win against Chelsea was their first since November
The Gunners ended a run of seven games without a win in the Premier League on Saturday, as a youthful team sealed a 3-1 win over the Blues… without their skipper.
Aubameyang – who has been out of sorts ever since signing a new contract earlier in the season – was left on the bench for the London derby as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.
Instead, the boss gave youth a chance after a torrid run of form and results, making six changes to the team that was beaten by Everton last time out.
Teenage duo Saka and Martinelli were trusted in attack, while 20-year-old Emile Smith Rowe was also given a chance to impress, and all three youngsters delivered in a bright performance which lifted the gloom in north London and eased the pressure on Arteta.
It has been widely assumed Aubameyang will return to the team for Tuesdays outing against Brighton – the start of a run of games that Bent believes will be make or break for Arteta.
Aubameyang has scored just five goals in all competitions this season, and was benched for Arsenal’s win over Chelsea
But the former Premier League striker, and big boyhood Arsenal fan, has urged the manager to stick with the kids and keep Aubameyang on the sidelines.
Speaking on the talkSPORT Breakfast Show, Bent said: I wouldn’t bring Aubameyang back. I wouldnt bring any of them back.
I think that team did well against a good Chelsea team and there seems to be a bit of a feel good factor around bringing some of the kids on.
To get fans on side theres nothing better than bringing some of your own into the first-team and they do well.
If Aubameyang is fit for this next game and you take these young players straight back out again, confidence wise that might kill them a little bit.
So I would stick with the youngsters and the more experienced guys might have to bide their time.
A young Arsenal side was too strong for Chelsea at the Emirates on Boxing Day
For me, Saka is absolutely brilliant.
I like Martinelli, hes a big player and weve missed him this season, his energy, his pace, he can finish and score goals – hes been a big miss.
But Saka has been absolutely brilliant. Even in the tough times Arsenal have had this season, he has been very very good.
And Smith-Rowe is a very clever footballer, hes got that bit of creativity weve been crying out for.
Victory over Chelsea eased the pressure on Arteta, but Bent believes the Spaniard will be right back where he was unless he gets results in their next three games.
The Gunners will take a trip to Brighton on Tuesday evening – live on talkSPORT at 6pm – before playing West Brom away in the Premier League and then taking on Newcastle at home in the FA Cup.
Petr Cech tells talkSPORT Breakfast that Mikel Arteta must be given time to change Arsenal’s philosophy and insists all it takes is one victory to turn things around
And Bent says Artetas job will be in very real danger unless Arsenal win all three.
It was a big result against Chelsea, a great result and a great performance.
But I dont think its a game like that that will get Arteta the sack. Its the run of games coming up against Brighton, West Brom and Newcastle.
After beating Chelsea hes got to be looking at those next three games and thinking, maximum points.
These next three games are make or break for Arteta at Arsenal.
To be sitting 15th in the table, thats not good enough for Arsenal Football Club.
Listen to live commentary of Brighton vs Arsenal on talkSPORT on Tuesday, kick-off 6pm