Arteta praises Saka’s courage on the ball

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Mikel Arteta praised Bukayo Saka’s courage on the ball as the 18-year-old was awarded the man-of-the-match award after helping Arsenal to a 4-0 win against Newcastle at the Emirates.

Despite Sead Kolasinac returning to full fitness, the boss decided to deploy the Academy winger at left-back once again and he was rewarded for the decision when the youngster skipped past two players to set up Nicolas Pepe for the Gunners’ second goal of the afternoon.

“He takes responsibility, he takes risks in the final third. He is a player who wants to make an impact, he has courage,” Arteta told Sky Sports when asked what the teenager brings to the side.

According to Opta, Saka has now assisted eight goals in all competitions this season, two more than any teammate and has the most assists of any Premier League teenager this season.

Interviewed after the game, the youngster shared his thoughts on the game.

“I thought we tried to bring energy to the game,” he said. “The first half was a bit slow. They defended really well, deep and compact, and we struggled to get through.

“In the second I thought they couldn’t match our energy and we just kept going, trying to play and combine and they couldn’t handle us.”

On his assist, he added: “I just thought that as soon as I passed it to him [Aubameyang] I found the space and I exploited it and it was almost a two v one situation but I always see it as a one v one.

“Then next a little nutmeg, we call that a little chilli. I sort of looked towards Eddie [Nketiah] first because I like to cross it behind the defence but I saw that it was quite tight and the cut back was on so I put it through the gap, and it was a good finish from Pepe.”

It was reported this week that Arsenal are looking to tie Saka to a new deal that would see him earn a significant pay rise. It’s fair to say, on this form he deserves it.

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Anders Limpar
Anders Limpar
1 month ago

What a talent we have on our hands here! Reminds me of when Ashley Cole broke into the team, just much better 😉

Fabulous
Fabulous
1 month ago
Reply to  Anders Limpar

Talent wise they’re not far apart. But from the get go you can sense that Ashley was a bit of an absolute tit. So yes your assessment is spot on.

C.B.
C.B.
1 month ago

Sign him up for the rest of his career!

mjc1892
mjc1892
1 month ago

Seen it said on another thread but do we think he and Tierney could play simultaneously? Saka moved forward with Tierney at lb? Would be so much pace and could almost interchange at will, in the same way the wingers do. I think it could be a fun system to tinker with, would be a nightmare to defend against hypothetically.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  mjc1892

Where would Gabi play? What a lovely dilemna.

Filsuf
Filsuf
1 month ago
Reply to  James

And auba

MateKiddleton
MateKiddleton
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Gabi is good enough to play anywhere in the front 3

mut
mut
1 month ago
Reply to  MateKiddleton

straight up! I do feel he has done his best at CF though, so its a great problem to have.

Where do you fit pepe/gabi/saka/auba/laca in.

I do feel like rotation is a huge requirement though, and that means our EL attempt can be strong WHILE our league can be strong 🙂

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
1 month ago
Reply to  MateKiddleton

Gabi is good enough to play in goal

Tierianri
Tierianri
1 month ago

Gabigolkeeper!!

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  James

With Auba likely gone at the end of the season i’d love to see Gabi given some games as central striker. His movement and finishing are definitely good enough for it.

miike
miike
1 month ago

I thought at the end of the second half Saka should’ve come off because he was getting bullied in a way Kolasinac wouldn’t have.

Goes to show why I’m not a manager.

PeteyB
PeteyB
1 month ago
Reply to  miike

Sure, there was one moment he got totally owned by their CB. But he is so young, he’ll learn, and probably he’ll bulk out a little in time. There is bound to be a few sketchy moments, but for the most part he is justifying his selection.

Joey Deacon
Joey Deacon
1 month ago
Reply to  PeteyB

He’s just 18. Reckon he will bulk up significantly over the next 5 years, and it will help take his football for us to another level, as will experience gained on the pitch. Really exciting player. COYG!!!

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi
1 month ago

This guy is the real deal. What a chilli he sold Lazaro.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Teryima Adi

He seems so efficient with whatever he does. Even the nutmeg wasn’t flashy. He passes at the right time, crosses at the right time, does just enough to put his opponent off balance but nothing more. Mature beyond his years.

Progman07
Progman07
1 month ago

To have such end product, such confidence and most importantly, such consistency at 18 is something else. We have seen Vela, Merida and co perform in cup games, but to do what Saka (and Martinelli) does, it’s an entirely different level.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin
1 month ago

What kind of full back goes with the nutmeg in a 2v1 situation 🤣 I kid I love this boy

Moxrex
Moxrex
1 month ago
Reply to  Cliff Bastin

Well the credit goes to Arteta to play Xhaka as left side DM covering for the vacant LB slot when Saka goes for the nutmegs. Saka is a winger naturally so he will go for the riskier option and requires proper covering in case the low chance option does not bring the desired outcome.

Fuzz
Fuzz
1 month ago

duh duh duh duh, Bukayo Saka!

The Arsenal
The Arsenal
1 month ago

I like how he describes how he selected to pass to Pepe instead of Nketiah. Great awareness in general.

Neder
Neder
1 month ago

I love a bit of chilli.

Cultured determination
Cultured determination
1 month ago

It seems like he had a lot of time to think. Speed of thought!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago

New contract ASAP

Escobar
Escobar
1 month ago

This is a good day to read me some dear old dear arseblog

steve
steve
1 month ago

Love this guy! 77 and 35 have looked great since the games in America preseason. Bukayo and Tierney on the left Bellarin and Pep on the right Auba or Eddie in the center. Ozil on form in the center. Just sort out the back, I still dont have faith in Mustafi. Not forgetting the man who has kept us from the bottom the fabulous Mr Leno and we have a team that can thrash the best.