Arteta talks Saka’s consistency and Auba’s waning superpowers

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If Bukayo Saka features against Leicester on Sunday, he will, according to @Orbinho, become the second-youngest player, behind Cesc Fabregas, to reach 50 appearances for Arsenal.

Having established himself as a first team regular last year, the 19-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength this season even earning senior caps for England after becoming one of our most important and consistent players.

Asked to start matches in almost every position but goalkeeper, he’s already featured in 30 games across all competitions, providing five assists and six goals.

Saka’s impact has been so big – as evidenced by consecutive player of the month awards – that the boss pretty much suggested the youngster is undroppable at the moment despite concerns he’s being overplayed.

Ahead of the Gunners’ must-win Europa League clash with Benfica, Arteta continued to praise the Academy graduate.

“His form in recent months shows that he’s a very important player for us,” he said.

“I think he’s getting better and better, his performance levels have been really consistent, so that makes him for sure one of the most important players in recent months.

“It [his consistency] is very unusual but he’s been doing a lot of unusual things.

“He’s dealing with things at his age in a very unusual way, but that’s why he’s showing what he’s showing, because his maturity is above his age and so is his intelligence as well.”

While Saka thrives, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t come anywhere close to matching the heights of last season.

The striker only has 11 goals to his name from 25 appearances so far and will need a prolific end to the campaign to match last season’s tally of 29.

After Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City, Jamie Redknapp said on Sky Sports that the 31-year-old was “past his best” and had “lost his superpower.” Arteta says he expects Aubameyang to respond on the pitch.

“I didn’t see those comments, I’ve heard about them,” noted the boss.

“I’m here to support every single player and that is what I try to do all the time. I try to give them the best possible advice and when they have a difficult moment, stay right behind them and that’s what we try to do always.

“I think the best way to talk is always on the pitch. Seven days before when he scored the hat-trick and he could have scored four or five against Leeds, he was again the main man.

“He could have scored a hat-trick against Benfica easily with his qualities and it would have been different. At the end [of the day] it’s about putting the ball in the back of the net for him and that’s how he gets joy.”

Quite why anyone would listen to Jamie Redknapp is beyond us. The man advertises Skechers shoes. (Sorry dad, I know you have a pair)

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Chuffy

Trouble is, if Aubameyang doesnt score, he doesn’t really contribute much else. He is poor at holding the ball up, poor in the air, doesn’t really dribble and his link up play is nine existent. So when he doesn’t score, he is pretty ineffective. In his defence the rest of the team have been pretty crap at providing much for him either. Hence 11th place and every Europa League game is a final.

Johnny 4 Hats

They say any football manager is only ever three games away from the sack.

But footballers are only ever 90mins away from the whole world declaring they are shit / the goat.

Chuffy

I agree, some players are written off by some after one poor game. However In 2 and half seasons, which is where I judge him, while his goal scoring is elite level, the other facets of his game are left wanting. Its exceptionally highlighted on the pitch if he is not scoring. He barely touches the ball, or affects the match. It’s not all his fault, but in a lot of games I’ve watched this season, he could play for 180 minutes and barely contribute or even score.

DPK

I agree Chuffy in some respects…his all round game can be poor…..but he scored 60 goals in the last 2 seasons in a team which has created very little quite a lot of the time. That’s phenomenal. There is no one else in our squad who can do anything remotely like that. I think he’s on the way back to scoring loads….Man City game aside where I think it was really not the game to play him as the sole striker.

Chuffy

Dont get me wrong, his goal scoring ability is great and we’d potentially have been flirting with relegation without him last season. This season we are struggling again, but his goals have dried up. A bad couple of results in the upcoming games and we could drop as low as 14th. But Arteta and Edu have piled all the pressure on him to progress the team and at this stage of the season its plainly not gone well for him. Even if we improve the midfield creativity in the summer, he’ll be 32 and as his pace dimishes so will… Read more »

Futsboller

I’m going to do what Saka would do and not write a lengthy comment here as this sort of narrative coming off the heels of a numpty like Rednapp is just so infuriating, but just have a look at this clip from the City match. This is just one example of 5-10 per game in which nobody finds Auba on the run or detects his movement in time. Our captain is incredible; try to appreciate it, fully, before he’s gone.
http://arsenalist.com/f/2018-19/arsenal-attack-fizzles-out-bad-pass-2021-02-21.html

Alex

Younger than Messi, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo, Cavani. How much evidence until people realise the game has moved on again?

Filsuf

Martinelli is a young Aubameyang. Lightning fast. Poor link up play. Doesn’t get involved much in build up.

Biggles

True, but the top ones (like Auba, who is in that bracket without doubt) do have the small consolation of a gigantic wage packet to help ease the stress of such name calling (and they get that whether they score or not, and most of it whether they play or not as well) so generally I’m not that sympathetic. The best way for any striker who is in this situation is clearly to score goals. I realise that Auba has been played out of position etc. and there are other tactical issues and things happening off the pitch as well,… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, he’s fine because he’s rich. He doesn’t need fan loyalty or patience or the benefit of the doubt. Because he can just go back to his mansion and swim in his money like Scrooge McDuck.

Now score a hattrick a game or we’ll start booing!

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

The way Arteta is managing Martinelli is quite frankly dismal. The boy should be the one giving Auba the competition he needs. I see in Martinelli, the exact player as RVP technically but much more loyal.

El Mintero

Martinelli is still finding his feet after a pretty horrific period out with injury. Arteta is right to be managing his return cautiously.

ilikecheese

Arteta is doing a good job at pissing off all the young talent we have.
He needs to be sacked in the summer

Arsepedant

You need to go back a few days and re-read Blogs’ post about toxic trolls on this site.

C.B.

Even Willian is only 90 minutes away?

Qwaliteee

Spot on.

Some of the comments on here slagging Auba off – talk about pass the fucking brain cell.

A D

We were complaining exactly opposite of this for Giroud. He does so much but does not score. His link up play is so good.. but can’t bury the chances.

Who would you want instead of Auba that Arsenal is capable of getting in? And please don’t name some unproven kid.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Giroud ĺeft Arsenal and started burying the chances. Giroud explained his pre-retirement success by new things he learnt about where to run to get the ball. Like they say, you never stop learning.

Hadian Utama

Scored 6 goals in this season in Champions League.

Oberon

I don’t think that’s fair. He is a good dribbler and has decent linkup play although isn’t someone who holds the ball up well plus he does actually work hard in most cases. The fact he’s scored so many goals in an ailing team previously was super impressive and this year we just haven’t created enough chances because of a dysfunctional midfield and a right wing problem of Willianitis.

catbiscuits

He is a good dribbler”

He can drop a shoulder and make space for a shot, but I don’t recall seeing him dribble past anyone?

North Bank Gooner

Jamie is almost as good at punditry as he was avoiding injury…….🚑

Roof_attack

i love my skechers! I didn’t realise Rednapp hawked them though.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Make comfortable golf shoes too!

A Different George

I’m probably your Dad’s age, Andrew, but no Skechers, and no time for Rednapps (either one).

Smudger

It sounds like Arteta, just like the rest of us, couldn’t give a Tottenham about Jamie Redknapp.

loose_cannon

Far too early to write off Aubameyang. Hattrick aside, I thought his performance against Leeds was his most complete as a lone CF in terms of pressing, bringing others into play and challenging in the air.

He maybe needs more games there instead of at LW, but had been hard to justify that given Lacazette’s form around the turn of the year and the lack of goals in the team in general.

Biggles

I don’t think many people are actually writing him off, but a lot are saying that what we’re getting so far this season isn’t acceptable – albeit there are a variety of reasons and it’s not all down to him. Whatever your view, it’s undisputable that his decline as a striker (scoring goals which is the primary objective) is one of the most spectacular I can remember over the space of not quite two seasons. The timing couldn’t be worse for him or, more importantly, the club and it doesn’t look like improving any time soon unfortunately.

Atom

He hasn’t had an amazing year but I also think he also hid a lot of our offensive problems last year by converting at an other worldly rate last year. Think about the cup run – against Chelsea we had like 3 shots on goal and converted 2. This is a team that has until we played ESR created virtually no chances. That fact just got hidden last year bc Auba was scoring on such a high percentage of them.

Qwaliteee

What do strikers thrive on? Chances.

Who generally makes most of those chances? A decent attacking creative midfielder.

In your own time, Biggs….

Francesc

Time to give Martinelli a go through the middle

Henrik

How can this get downvotes?

karl

Aubameyang is still great at what he does and has always been a striker that misses as many as he scores. His greatest power is just like Ian Wright in not being affected by those misses.

The problem I have is when we see a game like City where his play was totally ineffective, but was not replaced with someone like Martinelli or even Balogun that would close down defenders and maybe bring more to the role.

Daveo

Yeah, I’ve noticed this too. It is weird because Mikel was thriving at the end of last season making in game adjustment, but now he’s lost that mojo. The obvious thing is now Willian is his answer to all problems, but he comes on and is completely useless. Against Benfica, they pressed higher and higher up the pitch as the game went on and forced us to the left, the obvious adjustment would be to take off Xhaka and get more mobility on to get the ball back into areas where we wanted it (down the right where we were… Read more »

Biggles

But he’s not getting many shots on target, full stop. If he had been peppering the opponent’s goal regularly this season but not getting that many goals it would be somewhat different, but he’s not getting many shots on goal to start with. Look at Arsenal’s shots on goal tally against most sides this season – it’s often in low single figures per match. That’s the key problem for Auba and Arsenal.

A Different George

Really? You think the problem we had against City was Aubameyang’s inability to “close down” their defenders? Who were the last team to do that successfully? Do you think there’s a reason no one even tries?

karl

You miss the point. Why would we not add another player that contributed something if this is not an effective situation for Aubameyang?

He was not involved and was easily shoved off the ball by normally mild defenders. Anything would have added more to our team in this situation.

Iyke

Please am still doubting why Arsenal management has not finished the contract of Balogun so he can fix Aubameyang issues before he decides to leave like Martinez did,
Arteta does not need to build up only on Aubameyang to score it affect the team not to win,
Once Aub failed to score the team lost, again his team need to avoid to consider early goals.
He need to work very hard on this issues.

El Mintero

The hype around Balogun is quite ridiculous. I remember Nketiah was also thought to be the second coming at one point until he started getting a run in the first team and proved that he was actually quite mediocre. Who knows what Balogun would be like in the first team, he might be great, he might be shit but treating him as the next Messi without having the evidence yet is foolish.

Matthinc

Takes two to tango

Chipper49.

11 goals in 25 appearances is very nearly a goal every two games. That is normally considered a decent return for a striker. His exploits of the last two seasons has set a higher bench mark for him. This season he has had personal problems and a dysfunctional midfield that hasn’t been creating chances so it is not that bad a return. I think football fans these days are short of patience and memory, maybe give someone with a proven track record a chance rather than write them off the minute they fall away a bit. The term is ‘supprter’,… Read more »

Billy bob

Well said chipper, I’d like to see more positivity on the chats, reading negative comments is so draining!!

A Different George

There’s a natural tendency to overate young players; it’s especially true if they’re English. So, I’ve tried to keep a sense of proportion about Saka. But, no matter how much I look at the weaknesses in his play (and they do exist), no matter how much I try not to exaggerate his strengths–

man, this kid looks like he could play for any team in the world and, in a year or two, be a star at Juve or Bayern or Madrid–or, I hope, Arsenal.

Paul le'dain

Okay Auba hasn’t had exactly a good season but he’s had a lot on his plate with his mum being ill, but who the fuck does Jaime Redknapp think he is saying that Auba is past his best, that prick was nowhere near upto the Auba’s standards, Pussy.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I thought Wilshere would have definitely been one of the names on that list of youngsters to reach 50 games

King Clovis

Never apologize for noting the eternal embarrassment that is Sketchers.

Qwaliteee

The day anyone starts taking Jamie Redknapp seriously is the day they have to question their cognitive faculties, never mind Auba’s ‘superpowers.’

It’s high time Sky kicked him out, the Spice boy Spud.

Santori

Saka at the moment is indispensable. Would like to switch him to right side to support bellerin better. The Spaniard is not at his best but partially that is also the result of a lack of confidence on his part that Pepe will provide sufficient cover. They do not seem to be on similar wavelength as when Bellerin plays with Saka ahead. Watched Atalanta versus RM today. 2 THINGS : 1) Other teams do not seem to crumble as much when down a man or retreat to cower around edge of our box. We need to take lesson from this… Read more »

Santori

For Auba, I said it last summer we should have cashed in on him and got Edoard in with Laca on penultimate season. Arteta second guess himself with him as he did with Balogun, Nketiah and AMN two of which should have been sold on IMO as well. That said, Auba can rediscover some goalscoring form given right circumstance. he is not ‘world class’ as some prefer to moniker him. If you are truly ‘world class’ (whatever that means), you’d be able to make things happen for yourself as Henry was able to. That said, there are not many in… Read more »