Saka: This shows how exciting we can be

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Bukayo Saka produced a dazzling first half performances that included winning a penalty a fine goal as he helped Arsenal to a 4-0 win against Slavia Prague that secured a Europa League semi-final showdown with Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

After the game, the England international faced the BT Sport cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On the performance…

It was fantastic from start to finish. I have to say thank you to God, I’m in a semi-final now. I’m going to have the opportunity to play a semi-final with Arsenal. We did it for all the fans. They deserve it for all the support they give us. We’re really happy to progress and happy with the performance also.

On scoring three goals in 24 minutes…

Yeah, we showed real character. Obviously, we got the first one and then it was disallowed and took quite a while. It was only a fraction offside for Emile which was disappointing for him because he deserved a goal. We got the first one again with Nico and the second with Laca and I got one myself. We pretty much killed the game in the first half.

On what has changed in a week…

I felt like in the first leg we played really well we just weren’t clinical. We missed a few chances, if we’d taken our chances, it would have been a similar game. It’s a credit to the manager and all the coaching staff, the way we set up, the way we pressed, they couldn’t get out. The control we had over the game, the movements, the rotation, they couldn’t stop us. We did really well in that department.

On overcoming criticism…

I think it shows everyone how exciting we can be and what we can do. I think we’re such a great team and when we play like this it’s so amazing to be involved and I’m sure it’s amazing for our fans to watch. We just need to not make mistakes, silly mistakes and stuff. We have a great chance of going to the final and winning this competition. it’s really up to us, we have the quality, we just have to show the performances and the game management like we did tonight.

On facing Unai Emery in the semi-finals…

Yeah, we look forward to the next opponent.

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SheffieldGooner

Indeed it does young sir

A P

It is a good victory. Yet, we all would reasonably expect to progress when the draw for the quarters was made.

While the players did well, there are also games where the team showed how shit they can be. And they had more than their fair share of it this season.

Mcheza

Saka, ESR and martinelli bring a certain level of directness that can only be a positive. Good game.

Merson's Grin

I would include Pepe in that list.

Daveo

The front 4 were outstanding tonight. ESR just has it, Saka well we all know we have one of Europe’s finest young talents. Balance. Arteta nailed it tonight… Well done

john

Pace and directness!

Man Manny

Arsenal is the only team to progress to the semis playing the second leg away.
What a performance in the first 25 minutes!
Slavia Prague didn’t know what hit them.

C.B.

The other qualifiers wrapped things up away from home rather than mucking things up at home…

Man Manny

That is a perspective. On the other hand, four teams “mucked things up at home,” only one – Arsenal – turned it around away from home.

Runzac

I keep forgetting when I watch him that he´s only 19. He is incredibly good – really our only world class player

Duno

Yes. He’s incredibly good.
No. He’s not our only world class player.

John

Top man.

JeremyDG

not too much to say on Unai then haha

Heavenly Chapecoense

Saka has improved in shooting and can become prolific.

Bleeding gums murphy

I agree, he could have the same impact on us as ronaldo did for United. I think he can be that good.

Alex

I love him but come back to me when he scores the only goal in a 2-leg tie from 40 yards to progress

Daveo

His threat of being able to go outside right with his burst makes his cut back inside onto his (slightly) preferred left so dangerous. He just sees so much too. What a player

A Different George

If Saka never gets any better, just stays at the level he has reached, he is good enough to start at a Champions League club, and for England. If he gets a bit stronger, a little more clinical in finishing (as he was tonight), and gains experience to help his defensive positioning–all completely realistic goals for a 19-year old, not wishful thinking–then he is a world-class player, someone who can star (not just start) at any club in the world.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

You know his finishing will improve, as will his passing and generally all facets of his game. It’s very exciting to have a group of youth coming through the academy some who can slot right into the first team and others are PL players as well, just not for Arsenal. Very excited to see the next group of kids come through as well, Azeez, Balogun, Moller, Cirjan and others just starting out. Tip of the hat to the manager for the team selection and tactics which he got right. As a team, we need to maintain this level of intensity,… Read more »

Tomaury Bischfeld

I had no idea that Villareal had got hold of our Coq! Good to see him again, and in a semi too.

onenil

I’m sure we can handle him.

Tomaury Bischfeld

We could, but we’ve got to keep a clean sheet too.

Alex

Saka: I want to thank God.
God: Good ebening.

Gunnerlocutor

I got to watch Arsenal play Real Madrid in that summer friendly in D.C. in 2019. This young guy I didn’t recognize was playing on our left wing and was just electric, constantly going past the Madrid defenders. I said to my 14 year old son to look him up in the program. He said, “It’s Saka Dad, we need to keep an eye on him in the future!”

Rocky07

Great story

Ozzie

Emirates Cup the previous year he was outstanding too, but you never know quite how good till they start playing regularly. He has and he is.

Granit(e) hard!

Top man!, what a performance from this kid, from the whole of the team to be honest… now lets go protagonise Emery’s team lads😁

Ozzie

I prefer winning to excitement.

Gabigol

I love how the young guns are so level headed.

They don’t depend on praise to generate their motivation they are motivated by having good team performance and their part in it.

Appreciating other players who stand up for the team.

I love it love it love it

This is what I love about Arsenal. Kids coming through, making a difference and genuinely surprising you in a positive way