Tuesday, May 24, 2022

“The better he does the more difficult they are going to try and make it” – Arteta talks Saka fouls

“Sometimes I need a bit more protection when players are purposely trying to kick me. That’s all I was letting him know.”

In the aftermath of Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa last month, Bukayo Saka felt compelled to speak to referee Andy Madley about the three fouls against him.

His comments sparked a backlash from Villan’s boss Steven Gerrard, who was weirdly keen to point out that he owns a metal hip after a career in Liverpool’s midfield, and in the weeks since, it’s been business as usual for rival teams, who’ve continued to kick lumps out of our winger.

Brighton were the latest to single Saka out for rough-and-ready treatment and Arteta believes his young charge is the victim of his own talent.

“He’s a great kid, and he has a really clear idea of what he needs to expect,” said the Spaniard ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton.

“The better he does the more difficult they are going to try and make it for him, that’s for sure.”

He continued: “The best players and the talented players are always going to be closely looked at and they are going to close the space and they are going to be tight on them.

“Bukayo has to recognise that is going to be the case. Referees have to recognise that as well, early in the game, and then try to protect them.”

“I think he needs the protection that all the players need at this level, nothing different, nothing special.”

Asked about teams avoiding bookings by employing rotational fouling, where players take it in turns to target the same opponent, Arteta went on: “That again is the referee’s decision to judge that.

“I am sure that they are on top of that, they recognise the patterns on the play that is being targeted and they will try to protect him when they can.”

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He is at grave risk. And Gerrard is ridiculous to say that injuries are just a natural part of being a footballer.

Amazed that Messi has had so few injuries over his career, would hope for the same for Bukayo.

Johnny 4 Hats

If anything serious happened to Saka, given the amount of red flags there have been, then I would find it very hard to forgive the managers who speak this shite, the FA and the footballing world in general.

The fact that we have to accept that being endlessly kicked is just part of being a good player is bad enough. That’s not why anyone watches professional sport, to watch oafs kick around far more talented people. But the idea that serious injury is part of that game too. Absolutely fucking pathetic and it’s pure and simple victim blaming.


If referees came down as hard on teams fouling Saka as they do on Granit Xhaka, there would be no problem.


In all seriousness, Arsenal and Arteta need to start taking the officials and VAR to task BEFORE the inevitable happens and this kid suffers a career threatening incident. The longer it goes on with every Neanderthal cunt in the Premiership given carte blanche to boot him seven feet in the air whenever they feel like it – and not even get booked – the closer we come to the day it will happen. The club HAVE to get a grip here and take proactive action, before we have yet another Eduardo Ramsey episode. And bollocks to Gerrard. The guy is… Read more »


What makes it worse is Saka is the one that gets booked for being fouled!


I know.

It’s gone way past a joke. The blatant bias of the officials and VAR is staggering.

If it was happening to ANY other club, you can rest assured that Sky, MotD and all the rest would be all over it like an old suit. But it’s Arsenal – and you know it’s “Same old Arsenal, always cheating.”



This isn’t something new or unique to Saka. Hazard was the most fouled player in the PL for years, he showed pictures of cuts all around his ankles. Same for Grealish, Mahrez and Zaha – it comes with the territory for dribblers.

I agree they need more protection though, just pointing out that this is not some kind of bias against Saka/Arsenal. If anything it shows how big of a threat Saka has become.


Hazard got his foul count up by dropping at the slightest foul count. Could you really call him and Bellerin kicking toes in the penalty area a foul?


Mik is far too generous in assuming the PGMOL paragons of incompetence recognise let alone sanction rotational fouling antics. Last week’s defeat included Brighton’s poodle given human form foul Saka with impunity and escape at least one yellow; expecting fair officiating from the standard of ref who subsequently booked Saka for gamesmanship is just a tad too far. We should be calling out PGMOL and the FA for their consistent inconsistencies.


I think Arteta is actually being cleverer here – this is classic mind games of the kind practiced so well by Fergie for many years. He’s “sure” the referees will do their job and protect Saka, and doesn’t want anything “different or special”. So while seeming to side with the refs, he’s at the same time pointing out the basic responsibilities of their job while reminding them that Saka needs protection. A tactic much more likely to work than to lay into the refs, which will annoy them and have the opposite effect on Saka.

Heavy Gunner

To Gerrard: I know a bloke who has a metal hip and a knee implant- never kicked a football in his life. It’s rather like making a comparison with someone who gets maimed in a serious motorbike crash, caused by a nutter who slams into him with a Range Rover, and then blaming the bike rider for ever getting up on a two-wheeled machine. On a more serious note, though, the whole evolution of the Wenger ball era har caused the ‘good old boys’ of hard-nut football to look upon (especially) Arsenal’s style of playing as ‘Fairy Ball’ – AFC… Read more »


Disappointed he hasn’t called for aggressive punishment for rotational fouling and drawn attention to specific incidents. Did he ever have that meeting with the cheats at PGMOL?

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