Saturday, July 2, 2022

Dear Bukayo…

We love you.

We don’t need to say anything more.

We love you.

You’ll overcome this. We’ll overcome this.

We love you.

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I’ve never felt such heartbreak for a player in my life – US Arsenal fan. 😪

Ryan Welsh

Same! For some reason I can’t shake it. So proud of him though. The sadness will pass, but the proud feeling won’t!


I am absolutely devastated for him. Southgate and certain senior pros absolutely hung him out to dry last night. He should’ve been saved from himself, especially by Southgate, who knows on a personal level how devastating to your career a penalty miss of that magnitude can be. I’d perhaps understand his (Southgates) decision a lot more, if he knew Saka had lots of experience taking presser cooker penalties for Arsenal in big games. But he hasn’t taken a single penalty in his entire pro career. So to give him the responsibility of taking what is on paper, the most important… Read more »


I can’t speak for Lake Shaw not taking the penalty.
But Grealish is the Captain of Villa. He supposed to show leadership as well as Sterling who was also handed the armband for City.

But kudos to Saka for his gut on taking the penalty when others chicken out.

Felt really bad for him, someone as nice as Sara needing to take this sort of unnecessary abuse.

Saka, we stand by you. Hope you can take a needed break and then back stronger 💪

Runcorn Gooner

Who are these down voters?


Think its for my typo 😆


We do love you Saka!

Tierney’s Tesco points

We do love you Saka but you should never have been put in that position. Where was Sterling, Grealish, Shaw? We need to give this boy the love and support he deserves. He’s a marvel

Heavenly Chapecoense

His penalty miss although the last isn’t worse than Rashford and Sancho’s misses.


Agreed, he could’ve put it further to the side, but Donnarumma made a great save. He also got into Rashford’s head and made him hesitate, but Sancho’s was poor also


Yeah, looks to me that Saka took lessons from Kane on penalties (very similar style) and it just didn’t come off — hence the Spursy outcome. Wasn’t a bad penalty, but wasn’t as good as the goalkeeper’s save – and really, half as many players missed as scored, so no fault here. Bravo to him for taking it, but crazy to think that Shaw or Sterling didn’t demand one, or that someone didn’t think to put one of the blockheads (Kane or Maguire) at the end. Southgate got a lot right this tournament, but one too many things wrong, and… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Sterling was replaced, Grealish and Shaw hiding.

so many cowards

no he wasn’t

Merlin’s Panini

Sterling was not replaced.

Crash Fistfight

All three of them (plus Stones) should’ve stepped up before Saka.

I also thought it was strange to take off Henderson and Walker for those ‘penalty’ substitutions, because I would have backed them to have taken one (but maybe Southgate knew something I didn’t).

Vincent Ives

Walker maybe, but Henderson absolutely. I’d imagine Southgate has pages of notes that document how he arrived at the five he did and the order he chose them to step up, but sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the fundamental things you know about shoot outs, about psychology, and about youth and experience.


Henderson: A grand total of one (1) International goal. His international penalty record consists of grabbing the ball off the designated taker in an attempt to get that goal earlier. His inevitable miss made Saka look like the god of penalties.

Crash Fistfight

Yes, you’re completely correct.

Furthermore, I revisited the penalty shoot-out against Colombia in the World Cup and Henderson actually missed one, so that is probably why he was never down to take one.

(Funny how you don’t remember someone missing when the team wins).


A Different George


Bob's Mexican Cousin

Agree with you, shocking that they gave it to him. His willingness should not have been the only criteria.

Takes massive courage to take on the fifth. We have ourselves a top drawer person.

Chin up Bukayo, you’ve got plenty of time and talent.


Indeed, he would do anything asked of him – including being the goalkeeper if asked – that does not mean he should be asked. I had the horrible feeling before the game that this could happen.

Crash Fistfight

Thing is, he didn’t step up to take #5. Southgate said he decided the order.

It’s tough to know what to do, though. People might think putting Kane first was an error, but I can understand wanting to ensure the first one goes in so you’re not behind the 8-ball.

I just felt that someone more senior should have taken responsibility.


Is that true? In that case maybe Southgate was hoping that it would be decided before the 5th penalty. Kudos to Saka though, so brave to put himself forward.


I’m not sure…in that situation, at the crunch point, willingness is all when others don’t want it.

A Different George

I hope he knows that a guy who is arguably the best player in the world, Kylian Mbappe, missed a penalty and sent home the team favoured to win this tournament. And that, not so long ago, Lionel Messi missed a penalty in the Copa America final, to extend his long failure to win any national title–a streak finally broken this week.


Forza Bukayo

Johnny 4 Hats

So proud he took one. Sterling didn’t. Grealish didn’t. What a guy.

I think I might love him even more now. Not that that was possible.


Both thumbs up on this.

Hank Scorpio

Where were the senior players? I see Southgate is saying it was his choice but I just see that as protecting his players. It may be little consolation to Bukayo, but at least he had the balls to step up and take the 5th penalty when the most experienced players should be doing so.


Exactly! Kane being the captain, senior player and talisman of this team should have sent at least one of the kids first – all 3 are the same to me regardless of the club they play for. Even if the coach wanted it, Kane should have spoken him out of it. Before the shootout started I was hoping Saka doesn’t go last, it was one of the things I knew in my gut wasn’t going to go well. 19 year old in front of a huge home crowd for the most important kick of the generation, was always risky as… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

I get what you’re saying, but Kane doing that could equally have put them off/put more pressure on them.

I can kind-of see why you would put Kane first (to make sure you’re not playing catch-up), although I did think it was weird at the time.

I think it’s more on the other players to step up than Kane to make someone do something they didn’t want/weren’t signed up to do.

John C

The manager created the problem by bringing on Rashford and Sancho in the 120th minute, at that point he had already picked 2 of his takers, add Kane to that it becomes 3.

When you bring players on specifically to take a penalties they have to score. Both their penalties were so poor it’s beggars belief for Southgate to say they were the best 2 in practice. How the hell do you practice Rashford’s penalty when he’s waiting for the goalkeeper to move?


They probably were the best takers in practice. The issue is nothing in practice can possibly prepare a player for that type of pressure.

John C

That’s my point, you can practice over and over again put the ball beyond the reach of the goalkeeper into a corner, leaving pressure as the only variable. Rashford added new, unneeded variables with what he did, totally unnecessary


Grealish would have taken one of the next ones. He was asked in the huddle and said yes.

Arteta Tots

We are all behind you lil chilli!! ❤️


I love him more if anything.


I know its human nature to attempt to apportion blame when things haven’t gone well. I don’t think there’s anyone/anything specific to blame….The Manager clearly saw something in Saka, Rashford and Sancho…they missed, they could have also just as easily all scored….and we wouldn’t be having a conversation about a 19yr old taking the 5th…
Head up Saka, you played well….Big ups to Southgate and the rest of the English team….there are lessons learnt and I have full confidence that Southgate and co. will come back stronger…thanks for an amazing tournament that will live long in our memories…


Kid has done us proud.


Brave MAN taking the last pen in a final!! Much respect lil chilli!


One of this tournament’s big winners, penalty or not. It truly doesn’t need saying.


Bukayo stay strong and keep your head high. We love you


Who’s the cunt downvoting each of these positive posts?


Kane must have gotten on here


Love it Marge. Go get em


One of those anthem-booing shtheads.


Seriously. English fans need to understand patriotism and love of football doesn’t equal being assholes. It’s almost as if the hooligan era is back.

Robert Moir

There’s no “almost” about it. Shocking scenes at Wembley and Leicester Square

Teta's cult of personality

It never really left. A lot of those hooligans from previous decades grew older and got priced out of attending match-days.

At least that’s what I observed from my time at Milwall.

Crash Fistfight

Judging by the fighting going on in the stadium and the idiots causing it by trying to break in, I think you’re right.


Lots of love!

Scott P

This loss isn’t on him, but he will feel it deeply all the same. Chin up, Bukayo, England wouldn’t have gotten where they were if you weren’t there. Every fan has your back.

Side note – never like bringing players on just to take penalties. They are tight and have no opportunity to get the right mentality. After Rashford missed, you could feel Sancho would too. I was a neutral in this, but it was disappointing at the end.


Agree it is a special kind of pressure to come on for the pen as it’s your “only” contribution. If Luke Shaw misses, at least he knows he scored in the bloody final.

Strange for me


Southgate got it wrong, one lucky goal and he thought he could defend the entire 88mins. Italy pushed up, England yearned for speed and he decides to make 2 substitutions in the 119th minute. Just gor penalties and both miss. Personally I feel a change is needed why not get someone who has run something lead the English team, from the poor showings of Capello era, Sam Allardyce short stint, it’s sad. Tactically he got schooled. Italy were better from the 15th minute till the last 10 in the second half of extra time.


Nothing lucky about the England goal

Vincent Ives

I think it was lucky in terms of when it arrived; given how little was created afterwards, and just how rattled Italy were all the way to half time. Mount didn’t seem to be on quite the same wavelength as Kane or Sterling, and I don’t think it’s purely my Arsenal bias that made me miss Saka in that role. I don’t know if it’s really a factor in modern football, but at Villa and Arsenal both Grealish & Saka are the first names on the teamsheet when fit. These aren’t people used to being hurled on as impact subs.… Read more »

Bleeding gums murphy

Couldn’t agree more. Many of us said before game he had gone so defensive and so it proved. Mason mount on the left for fuck sake, anonymous. Only other time we looked threat in their area was grealish little back heel to saka that almost came off. Southgate always reacts, their goal was coming just like Croatia in World Cup semis and rather than be proactive and make a change he sits there like Homer Simpson and then reacts when they score. Oh well World Cup next year, it’s coming home it’s coming home


Do you think Rashford and Sancho weren’t made to feel important in this tournament and that’s why the lack of self belief showed?

Crash Fistfight

I don’t think they would have asked to come on if that were the case.

Southgate has done better than any other manager in the last 55 years, so I think it’s harsh to criticise him at this point.


No, Southgate has achieved the same as every England manager since ’66…failure.


TBF not criticising Southgate. He’s done admirably so far and set up a solid base for the youth. I just wish he had more imagination sometimes.

Laca New Signing

It’s such a shame that a whole country’s hopes in such an important tournament were placed on a 19 year old lad’s. Gareth Southgate is such a loser. 😭

Heavenly Chapecoense

To be fair, coaches let players who feel confident about shooting at instant t do it.


Managers pick the order. No matter what, if needed the 5th taker has guaranteed the weight of the nation on his shoulders. That’s hundo p on Southgate for putting Saka in that position – whether B wanted it or not.


Talk about blowing it out of proportions


The responsibility for letting the so called “baby” of the group take the final penalty lies at the feet of the manager Southgate & captain Kane.
PS I hope he’s not talked into doing a McDonalds advert.


We love you bukayo and we stand with you!


Bukayo we love you.


Crushing to see him break down. Poor poor decision by Southgate with his boring tactics and then putting a 19year old to take the 5th. He’s a wonderful player. But he’s still a young’un. Heartbroken for him.

Maul Person

I don’t think the manager chooses penalty takers or the order. So I think, while criticisms can be levied against Southgate, this is not one of them.

Robert Moir

What do you think a manager does? The players can put themselves forward, or step back, and coaches can make suggestions of course but beyond that it’s absolutely the manager who decides this stuff.


Were you not watching or listening? – Southgate could be seen deciding the order and accepted that he did in the subsequent interview

Kartik Iyer

Just don’t understand how he could let Sancho and saka take those pens. He had Henderson and Kyle walker who he substituted. Then he had grealish, sterling, Luke Shaw. All these people with so much experience weren’t selected. I like Southgate but he screwed the pooch on this one.


Yup. England were too passive between their goal and Italy’s. If there’s any blame that’s where it should go. A bit shocking because I think Southgate managed the tournament excellently, if not this game.

Crash Fistfight

He was also overly negative against Denmark (who went down to 10 men in extra time because they’d used up all their substitutions) in changing to a back 5 (that’s what it is, not a back 3). England won, so apparently that made it a good decision.

Vincent Ives

Yeah, I got very fed up of hearing how every win ‘vindicated’ all of Southgate’s conservative choices. In 2018 we played one truly world class team twice (Belgium in the group & 3/4 playoff) and lost both times. It depends on how you classify 2021 Germany, but I feel like the final was the first time England played a world class team in this tournament and once again Southgate’s tactics were found wanting.

Crash Fistfight

I mean, I’m not saying he should get the sack because he was overly cautious in the last couple of games, but I think you can criticise decisions if they don’t appear to be the correct ones. Still think he should carry on until the next World Cup.

After the last 2 tournaments, I can’t see the team doing any better next time, which puts him in an unfair situation (I can see people calling for his head if England go out in the Quarter Finals/worse).


There’s so much verve in this team but all they did was jostle and punt after Shaw’s goal. They should have gone for the jugular.

Bleeding gums murphy

That’s on the manager I’m afraid. He set up defensively and scoring so soon didn’t do us any favours.

Crash Fistfight

International football isn’t about running quick or dribbling past people. England has no central midfield control. Where Italy had Jorginho and Veratti to keep hold of the ball and control the tempo, England had two plodders.

You can’t exert control if you haven’t got the ball. As soon as Italy started slowing the game down to allow their midfielders to have time on the ball, England barely featured. I laughed at Rio Ferdinand saying England had dominated the first half, when they’d had 35% of the possession and 1 shot, to Italy’s 6.


Agreed, Southgate is such a defensive Manager, we were playing so deep second half, the equaliser was nailed on and gave them momentum. Grealish should’ve come on earlier for Mount who was poor second half. As for the peno’s again senior pros poor and no cajones, Sterling, Shaw, I thought Pickford should’ve taken one of the 5…. Hope Saka not too devastated by this and we rally round him at Arsenal…


We love you Saka chin up you made us all proud.


What manager puts a 19 year old in to take the critical penalty.

Mayor McCheese

That was my thought as well. I love Saka for taking it, but I can’t understand what Southgate was thinking there. That kind of pressure (and the ensuing fallout) should be on more seasoned, thick-skinned, not a 19-year-old in his first major tournament.

But he’ll be fine.

What’s infinitely more disturbing is the parts of society that abused him afterwards.


A manager who knows Saka is the future.


A penalty at that stage should never have been left to a nineteen year old. I hope the courage he had to take it won’t be shaken.

Fun Gunner

Wish I could give this comment TWO thumbs up.

Kartik Iyer

Irresponsible management. I really hope saka is one tough guy mentally. Coz this kind of stuff can easily derail a career.


I think he’s going to go to the next level after this, he has a lot of confidence stepping up in the first place, it’s the final penalty in the European final. Wait and see everyone, this boy is going to be one of the best on the planet. And he’s a gooner.

Non flying dutchman

Its now on us as a fanbase to help build hom back up


The only fear is the manic english press and fans who love a villain. They have gone after Beckham, Sterling with vehemence. But TBH neither were affected because they are solid quality. Saka is 24K too.


It appears that media darling and vertigo sufferer Sterling was not quality enough to step up a d take a pen though.
was beginning to come around to him. Now I think I was right all along to think him suspect.


If Sterling isn’t good enough strong enough buff enough white enough for y’all we (India) will take him off your hands in a jiffy.


He plays football not cricket


And yet he’d be worshipped… imagine what dark ages the west lives in

Teta's cult of personality

Nah he’ll bounce back just fine. I’m confident of that.

For every Simone Zaza, there is a Lukaku, Messi, Ronaldo, Baggio, Trezeguet and Beckham who bounced back from a penalty shootout miss.

It will definitely help him if we have a better campaign this season.


B, it takes guts to put yourself forward for a penalty In any game, let alone in a final of such magnitude. The whole of arsenal fandom knows what a glimmering talent you are, as well as being a shining example of a human being. You’ll be in bits right now, no doubt. But we love you fella – whatever doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, and you are already such a strong character. Acknowledge the hurt, allow yourself any tears you need to shed. And when you come back to the arsenal, feel the love of your footballing family.… Read more »


Nicely put. Southgate took his eye off the ball when choosing the 5.

Gygans Parting

THIS is the comment! Spot on sir…..
Bukayo, you are our are our player of the season and you deserve only praise for how well you played in this tournament.
All true Gooners love you!


Don’t worry, you’ll be England manager in 25 years.

Fun Gunner

You were brave enough to volunteer.

You got your team to the final, and you made a difference when you came on tonight.

You are an absolute star and I can’t wait to see you in the red-and-white again next season.

Lots of love from all the Gooners.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

And in the yellow, I got it for Father’s Day and it’s such a nice shirt!


He did make a difference in every game he played despite not being on the same frequency as his teammates.
the first time I saw him play I was oh my goodness. On of the writers on this blog can attest that I tweeted him saying he has to start every game. He is what is sad, south gate and arteta outsmarted themselves with saka. Should have started him tonight and arteta should have let him play LB whenKT was injured.


This. Just this. Sensational performances from the lad. No shame whatsoever and was courageous enough to step up when several “senior pros” were too chicken.


Devastated for him.

Laca New Signing

Dear England. It’s hard to win anything with a Spud captain. Find a captain and a manager. All the same it’s looking positive for England – hopefully at World Cup they’ll do better.


No way should England have made Saka take the crucial 5th pen.

Where where the likes of Grealish and Sterling?


Saka you are now one of the most successful 11 or so English players in my entire lifetime and I’m 40. Gerard, Lampard, Shearer don’t have runners up medals for their country. You do.

We love you!!


Don’t worry saka, we all do love you bro don’t be too down. I was so sad for him


Does this now mean that Saka will be England Manager one day?!


Stepped up when needed. Shows how much trust managers have in him and his own belief. Will keep believing!


We love you Saka, you’ve done Arsenal proud and the best is yet to come. Keep your head up!

John C

The manager bottled it, Saka can hold his head up high. The change of formation, ultra defensive tactics, complete refusal to sub Sterling is what lost it, not necessarily the penalties, although I thought both Rashford’s and to a lesser extent Sancho’s penalties were pretty arrogant. Penalties shouldn’t be a lottery if you’ve spent days, weeks, years practicing the technique of sticking it in the corner, it then becomes a question of holding your nerve. The problem with the Rashford technique is it isn’t replicable in a training environment, I’m sure from now on he’ll just smash it in the… Read more »


Bukayo we love you. You’re still my 3 year old daughter’s favourite player.

Rio Rio

Chin up Bukayo!

Merlin’s Panini

Why the fuck didn’t golden boys Sterling or Grealish take a fuckin penalty? It’s left to a 19 year old to score the most important spot kick in his country’s history. Fucking terrible decision making by Southgate.
This is not on Bukayo. He didn’t deserve this.

Also, fuck Chiellini. Dirty prick.


The manager was afraid Sterling would go to the ground as soon as he entered the penalty box.

Grealish was busy styling his shit hair.


should not have been given pen 5


Shouldn’t have got to pen 5!!!!


He stood up and took a penalty on the biggest stage. That takes balls. He has been one of, if not England’s best player in the tournament. Rashford and Sancho in the same boat, so Saka can be blamed exclusively. But he will get most of the stick which is just not fair. I think the more senior players should step up in moments like this. They should be more composed as they are not experienced (we saw Kane and Maguire). I am also getting really sick and tired of these antsy pantsy ways of taking penalties (Rashford, Jorginho etc).… Read more »


Saka can’t be blamed **


More experienced **

Ffs I should read before I hit submit lol


Who doesn’t feel bad for Saka right now? Every Arsenal fan will give him a huge cheer when we see him now we are allowed back


Arsenal fan from Pescara. happy we won obviously but sad for Saka. Love from Italy

Crash Fistfight

An Abruzzese Gunner! My dad is from Chieti and me and my brother made him an Arsenal fan, so you’ve got another one if you need an ally.


I urge everyone who goes to the Emirates whenever you’re able to sing his name as long and loud as possible. Let him know that he’s loved unconditionally by us.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

First game of the season, Saka has to get the biggest cheer the Emirates has ever heard


And that’s non negotiable!


It is unfortunate they chose a rookie to take the toughest penalty. Sentiments aside , that was badly taken, probably nerves. I hope that we can work on him to build back his confidence. Perhaps He should take our first penalty to exorcise the ghosts.


It wasn’t the best penalty, but he picked a spot and hit the target. Just like Sancho and Belotti, who both missed too. Fair play to the GKs.


Der32, good point, but I think Saka projected his intention by the direction his plant foot was placed. Most others plant it parallel to the ball, then turn the body in the direction, so that the keeper has little time to guess. Still, I think Saka at 19 can learn from this. He is a player with immense talent, but not enough guile, which should come with experience. It is up to arsenal to build him up so that he can perform with greater aplomb. (For guile, he can watch the Copa America finals for pointers on how to be… Read more »


Remember Kane actually “missed” his penalty v Denmark.

NW Gooner



Dear Arseblog,

this is the loveliest thing ever

we love you too

(Scottish Gooner)

Sam I Am

Andrew Allen FWIW, not Andrew M.


Sorry had a beer

Andrew Allen

We love you for doing this

(fixed it)


He will overcome it if you don’t keep going on about it .

F. Giling

I saw chaos with the English team when deciding for the penalty shoot out.
The decision to leave the 5th penalty with a brave lad of 19 is exactly why this coach is no tactician, let alone a manager.


Chin up Bukayo, that courage to take the 5th kick, at 19. I’m in awe of you.. You’ll come back stronger – from a Gooner in Indonesia.

Pete Plum

Saka did his bit and he can look himself in the mirror. Somebody had to step up and he did as his manager wanted. He had a brilliant tournament, got us the futhest in 55 years, thanks Bukayo


I’m just very pissed at why of all the players, they allowed the youngest player in Saka to take the last penalty. It’s common sense, penalty shootout are a battle of holding nerves. And this should be passed to the middle age or seniors. Pick a place, focus on the ball, whack tidy whack hard. Don’t do stupid dances, especially when the whole country is watching. This is England, not Manure United


Keep your head up Starboy. All the love in the wrld for you


The reason Saka is in this position, has got a lot to do with some certain striker who took a pentalty before him, dances like a cheap Pogba, half stuttering to half trick the keeper, only to hit a weak shot at the post. Very, very cringy. If he’d be more professional and whack the ball properly, our boy Saka would have been a happy man


Although I agree with you on bad penalty take by Rushford I cannot put blame on Saka, Sancho or even Rushford. This loss goes squarely on manager and coaches shoulders 100%. 3-4-2-1 overly defensive formation is not what got them to the finals. No one should blame any of the players because they were sent out to play set up all wrong and it took utter domination by Italy for coaches and manager to react and change formation but it was too late and Italy had all the momentum. 2 shots on target by England in 120 minutes from this… Read more »


You can’t stop me from blaming Harry Kane.

Another final disappearance.

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