Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Saka: I have the passion when I get on the pitch

Bukayo Saka scored and assisted Alex Lacazette as Arsenal exacted revenge on Southampton for Saturday’s FA Cup defeat with a clinical 3-1 win at Saint Mary’s.

Mikel Arteta’s side fell behind early to Stuart Armstrong’s strike but struck back quickly through Nicolas Pepe before the England international took the game by the scruff of the neck.

After the game, the 19-year-old faced the BT Sport cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On getting the win after losing on Saturday…

It was much better. Saturday was disappointing for us to be knocked out of the FA Cup. We’re the holders of that and we took it hard. We came out here, we knew their weaknesses and I felt we exploited it well and got the victory that we deserved.

On his goal…

I spoke to Laca before the game about the opportunity, as soon as he gets the ball, I’m going to run behind. He listened and we got the goal, so I’m happy about that.

On Cedric’s pass in the build-up to Laca’s goal…

It was amazing. He just hit the space. I don’t even think he looked at me. I’m really happy with everyone, not just Cedric and Laca, we’re so happy to get the three points here.

On having as many goals (5) as all the Premier League’s other teenagers combined…

I’m just happy to be playing for Arsenal. It’s a dream, I have the passion when I get on the pitch. The boss makes everything clear for me and at the same time gives me the freedom to go and do what I want to do in the final third. I’m really happy with that stat. I just want to keep improving on that every game.

On Arsenal climbing to 8th…

Game after game we take it. I know everybody always says that but we have to do that. This year the Premier League is changing so rapidly, a couple of months ago we were in the bottom half, now we’re in the top half. It can change so quickly. We have to focus on every game and win each on.

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Prakhar

We have old players. But Saka is the one who feels like veteran leading this team on attack.

goonerrah

What an exciting core of Saka, ESR, Martinelli, and Tierney. Saliba is still a possibility.
If Arsenal get the next summer transfer window right and buy talented players under 23, we could have a top side for years to come

parteytime

those are flank players though. we dont really have great youth coming through to form the spine – CB, CM, CF. guys like willock and nketiah are bench warmers tbh.

goonerrah

Yes…. I know…. that’s why I said to buy young players for those positions.

Cultured Determination

I’m happy with my bench being made up of academy players who can come on and contribute spend thefunds on top starters to build the spine if we dont produce.

I always feel a team should have at least 5-7 players from the academy in the first team, whether as starters or subs。

Toni

We have ESR in the middle, I still believe AMN can do a very good job alongside Willock. And then there’s Miguel Azeez. And Omari Hutchinson is flying under the radar.

Rich

Nketiah + Willock are both 21 Saka is the exception, not the rule Nobody knows how young players will progress Ian Wright didn’t turn pro until he was almost 22, didn’t sign for Arsenal until 2 months before his 28th birthday Players mature at different rates Vardy was a late developer Calvert-Lewin has made big progress over the past few months, before that, he looked bang average Henry got dumped by Juventus Aubameyang wasn’t a consistent goal scorer until he was 24/25 Players like Ndidi, Bissouma took 2 seasons or so to find some consistency in the Premier League Maddison… Read more »

Name*

You seem to have missed Dan Ballard at Blackpool. He is a good CB. There is Platino, who is already being talked up, and he is CM.

We don’t know Balogun, of course. He is the two birds in the bush; but the new guy Moller is doing well as a forward. It’s not all doom and gloom as you would make it seem.

There’s Azeez.

Francesc

Frankly I am still not convinced with ESR. I feel he will fade away after 5-6 more matches. He has the talent but doesnt seem to have the x factor which Saka, Tierney or Martinelli have. Hopefully he proves me wrong!

goongot

I kind of see where this comes from, But he’s miles better then willock at that position and he’s scoring and assisting and does not look out of place for a top 8 team like us arsenal.

Daveo

He’s twenty years old and played a handful of EPL games and has taken the league by storm in those games. He’s changed the team dynamic and has been so impressive, and he also works his socks off defensively. You’re talking like he isn’t contrubting anything special and is the finished product.

Francesc

Did not say he is not contributing anything special right now. I am saying I dont think he can maintain his consistency going forward. Doing it 4-5 games is one thing and doing it week in week out (like Saka is doing) is a different thing altogether.

Smudger

I disagree. What he brings to the team is not going to be judged only on goals and assists where consistency is hardest. It’s his link play and his speed of thought where he really brings something special to the team.

SakaNelli

Agree to disagree

Gideon

You’re very wrong. The “x factor” is so invisibly obvious! This guy plays the number 10 role in arsenal! An arsenal under pressure! And this guy play effortlessly. Come off it, guy. The boy has the steel

LadyGooner

Star Boy indeed. One of the best players in the league at the moment. Not just young players. Can we really say he has a “weaker foot” anymore? Long may it continue.

David C

Long term Santi replacement in midfield maybe?

He’s so fast and valuable on the wings now but maybe moves to an even more dominating position later because of his two-footed skills.

Jac

Why are people always trying to do this? There’s a reason why various professional football coaches have consistently played him wide. There’s no reason at all to think he’d be well served by moving to an almost entirely different position.

Sachin

We need him where he can make the max difference.

TOGooner

He doesn’t have a weaker anything. He can do every aspect of the sport really really well, and he does it all with ease and grace. At 19. I’ve watched every match he’s played for the senior team and I still feel confused by how he’s making it look so uncomplicated.

Reality check

“he’s making it look so uncomplicated”

He’s just a natural, he was like that ever since he broke through.. his protection of the ball and running with it was elite even then, his pin point crossing and end product were all early indication that he’s not a Iwobi or Willock. They still lack that authority in their game that Saka had from day one.

...and really bad eggs

Exactly! this is actually what gets me excited about Saka. You can tell he has the humility to keep working on his weaknesses. When he first exploded into the team, you could tell his right foot was quite weak, especially when it came to shooting. But look at my man now! Saka is going to be a beast in 2 years!

Twatsloch

World class!

Zet

Important thing is that he love Arsenal and wants to play for Arsenal.

Cultured Determination

Give the man a 15 year contract!

Daveo

What, and let him walk away when he’s 34?

Tomaury Bischfeld

“I’m just happy to be playing for Arsenal. It’s a dream, I have the passion when I get on the pitch”

Watching him say those words, you could tell he meant them. This is why it’s brilliant having academy players coming through. Clearly in the last 10 years the club have been doing something right and I hope the conveyor belt of talent continues.

Arsene's Coat

Hard to name a teenager in Europe playing better than Saka right now

parteytime

ansu fati?

Cultured Determination

Fart compared to saka.

StockholmGooner

They would swap Ansu fati for saka in a heartbeat.

GoonerNJ

It is sheer joy watching this young man play. Long may it continue!

Arsenalista

This guy is absolutely class and he is a gooner. More goals than every other teenager in the premier league combined, love it.

Granit(e) hard!

When a young player combines natural God given talent with humility and hard work, sky usually is the limit and this kid has got it all with plenty to spare…pure class!

Gudang Bedil

Saka, can you adopt me as your father?

Sachin

Eminently likeable. If only I was as focussed in my occupation as Saka is

Santori

Several stand outs today but Saka obviously MOTM. excellent composure for a young lad but also fearless take ons. Thought Cedric was good again today. Left side at very least has an option now and he may have sold off AMN with Amavi the latest in rumour mill albeit I don’t think we will see anything till summer. Pepe I felt also did well today on left. whilst not the 72m player we paid for, he has been improving particularly his back tracking. He no longer stops 10 yards after chasing. But he also had good moments holding the ball… Read more »

Daveo

I was impressed by xhaka today. Also impressed by Arteta’s use of xhaka. Previously he’s played to much through him which made us predictable and easy to breakup. Now with partey xhaka is slowly moving into a support role and not a role that demands everything go through him. It balances the team, makes him so much less susceptible to the press. Partey really helps his spacing too. This was a big game for the Xhaka-partey combo to come through, as the saints really like to press, but partey makes teams pay for that and is opening a lot of… Read more »

Reality check

No downvotes for Santori.. what happened here

Francesc

Saka > Sancho

Cultured Determination

The boss makes everything clear for me and at the same time gives me the freedom to go and do what I want to do in the final third.

Sounds like pep’s style, according to an interview with thierry years ago.

Francesc

11 Sakas will win us the league

'desi'gner gooner

As good as he is, am not too sure about Saka in goal mate!!

SuperTom7

But who would win in game of 11 Sakas vs 11 Sakas?

Niall

Simple. It would be a draw. Two evenly matched teams

Fezec

And the champions league.

Fezec

And the World Cup

Fezec

And the Super Bowl, world snooker championships, Cowes regatta, Olympic break dance gold and Crufts

benjmin

He is just the Best

Matthinc

Legend in the making. Love him.

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