Rio Ferdinand has showered praise on Arsenal's young personnel, labelling Gabriel Martinelli as the finest amongst the crop of starlets in the club.
The former Manchester United defender had scrutinized the club's transfer decisions in the recent past, but highlighted the returns they're receiving for pinning their faith on the youth.
Arsenal thumped Chelsea against all odds last month, and then went on to put four past West Bromwich Albion in their most recent game.
A host of teenagers including Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka have carried the club on their young shoulders, while Gabriel Martinelli's return could not have come at a better time.
Arsenal, once in the relegation scrap, are now just three points behind old foes Tottenham Hotspur, who are presently seated in fourth place.
Ferdinand pointed out how Arsenal have churned out results even with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's worrying form. Speaking on the FIVE Youtube channel, Ferdinand said:
"I think Arsenal have really benefited from investing and believing in young players. Without them in this squad, Arsenal would be in even worse shape. Before that they were reliant on [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, who hasn’t produced this season."
Ferdinand further singled out Martinelli as the most special talent in the Arsenal camp.
"Without these young players coming in and holding the fort, with all that’s going on, I don’t know where Arsenal would be and the fans would be in the doldrums. Martinelli, for me, is the best one."
Arsenal's young players continue to be the torch bearers
The Gunners are now on a fine winning streak with three consecutive wins under their belt. They have only conceded once in this spell and scored eight goals.
Mikel Arteta's team previously seemed out of ideas, having only managed to find the back of the net 12 times prior to this promising run.
The likes of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka have imbibed more creativity going forward, with the latter also registering himself on the scoresheet twice in three games. Martinelli on the other hand, has injected penetration and a much-needed cutting edge.
Kieran Tierney's ability to stretch the defense, coupled with quality on the delivery has been a crucial factor in Arsenal's recovery of late.
With home games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United lined up in the coming weeks, Arsenal will fancy themselves to further climb up the ladder.
Published 05 Jan 2021, 18:41 IST