Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said Arsenal’s youngsters played with freedom after the Gunners cruised to a 3-1 derby victory over Tottenham.
Emile Smith Rowe turned in a star display as he scored Arsenal’s opener before teeing up Aubameyang to double their advantage at Emirates Stadium.
In a blistering first-half display from Mikel Arteta’s side, Bukayo Saka made it 3-0 after Arsenal capitalised on Harry Kane’s error in the 34th minute.
Son Heung-min netted a late consolation for sorry Spurs, who also hit the crossbar late on, though Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were deservedly beaten as they suffered a third successive top-flight defeat. Tottenham are only the second team in Premier League history to win their first three games of a season and then lose the next three, after Everton in 1993-94.
“It means everything. It means the world to us. We gave everything for them today. The fans give us everything. They push us. It’s an amazing feeling, unbelievable,” Arsenal captain Aubameyang told Sky Sports, as he spoke alongside Smith Rowe.
Asked if he offered guidance to Arsenal’s younger players, Aubameyang said: “These boys are great guys, they’re doing well, and I’m happy that my kids will grow up [in London] and one day be maybe like [Smith Rowe].
“It’s quite easy when you have boys like this who always listen and are ready to learn. So I try to give them some advice.
“The most important thing is they feel free as they play. This is what they did today. They are doing amazing.”
20 – Aged 20 years and 21 days, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is the youngest player in Premier League history to score and assist in a North London derby (previously Cesc Fàbregas in September 2007). Catalyst. pic.twitter.com/ttaC1obMiX
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 26, 2021
Smith Rowe created two chances and scored with his only shot in a scintillating performance. With his goal having been teed up by Saka, the duo have now assisted one another five times in the Premier League. Among players both aged 21 or younger, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney (eight) have teed each other up more often in the competition’s history.
“I’ve always dreamt of this day, to score for Arsenal against Tottenham. To have my family here as well, it’s just the best feeling ever,” said Smith Rowe, before explaining Arteta’s influence.
“He just tells us to keep calm. We’re young players in a massive game. He just encourages us so much and gives us so much confidence. Not just the manager, but the players in the team as well, they give us so much confidence.”
After heading into the last international break bottom of the table, having lost their opening three games by an aggregate score of 9-0, including a 5-0 thumping by Manchester City, Arsenal have now overtaken a Spurs side who were top at the end of August.
It is the first time Arsenal have ended a day of Premier League action above Spurs since October 25, 2020.
“We are doing a good run for a couple of games now,” said Aubameyang.
“After the game against Manchester City it was time to have a chat between us players and this is what we did. We want to go forward and win games.
“This was important for us to make everything clear. We are doing well right now and the feeling is very good.”