Bukayo Saka says Arsenal fans don’t have to worry about the rough treatment he receives from opponents, highlighting the fact he’s been able to play in every Premier League game this season.
The England international gets kicked a lot when he plays and there’s been regular discourse about whether he needs to be more protected by the officials.
Back in February, club legend Ian Wright voiced his concern, saying: “We have seen recently how much attention he gets from defenders because they know how much of a threat he is. But he keeps going. It’s a worry.
“It’s obvious that people are targeting him. I don’t hear him say anything. I don’t think he will ever do something like that, it’s for others to say that and the referees to see it. But he will just keep going.”
After Saka signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal, Wright again expressed his fears for the 21-year-old in a chat at Emirates Stadium.
“I didn’t know everyone was worried,” replied Saka.
“Listen, I’m fine. I don’t really think you need to worry about me. I have everything in place to be healthy, be on the pitch week in, week out. And yeah, I’ve been able to play every game this season.
“So, you know, despite all the games and the tackles and so on so forth so yeah I think I’m fine.”
For his part, manager Mikel Arteta has said it’s Arsenal’s job to better prepare the winger for physical treatment, seemingly wary of the player getting it in his head that he’s unfairly treated.
Should he feature against Wolves, Bukayo Saka will become the first player to not miss a single game in back-to-back league campaigns for #Arsenal since David Seaman (1990-91 & 1991-92) and the first outfield player to do so for the club since Lee Dixon (1989-90 & 1990-91).
— Harvey Downes (@HarveyDownes92) May 23, 2023
According to Opta, if Saka plays in the final game of the season against Wolves on Sunday, he’ll become the first Arsenal outfield player since Lee Dixon (1988-89 & 89/90) to feature in every game for two seasons running.
It’s quite the stat and one that underlines the hard work put in by both player and the club.
Speaking to Arsenal.com this week, the club’s head of sports medicine and performance, Gary O’Driscoll, shed light on Saka’s dedication to the fitness programmes prepared for him.
“Learning from the development of other young players who have progressed to the first team, and under the careful guidance of the strength and conditioning staff and the physiotherapists, Bukayo has gradually increased his physicality and conditioning. He’s learned to cope with the ever-increasing demands,” said O’Driscoll.
He added: “Bukayo certainly wasn’t bigger, stronger, or more powerful than any other player when he came into the first team environment and it is not as if we have turned him into a machine. He’s a physiologically gifted athlete with outstanding professionalism and approach to his preparation.
“If you look at the stats, I think he’s one of the most fouled players in the Premier League, but what’s for sure is that he has adapted his physique to be able to cope with that.
“Apart from his physical development, Bukayo has the most remarkable capacity, mentally, to take on what we’re asking him to do. If we ask him to improve his lifting, to add some strength or improve his core – he just does it! Not every player is able to do that, as much as they might try.
“If I could design a perfect Premier League player, Bukayo is very close to it. For his professionalism and mental approach to the game and his ability to take on physical, technical and psychological messages.”
That’s high praise from a man who has worked with some of the best players in Arsenal’s modern history.
If I ever get the chance to go to an Arsenal match, I’m gonna be holding up a sign that says “Marry me Bukayo”.
Don’t tell my wife.
That’s a rude nickname and I will not stand for it.
It’s not Amy’s fault she’s pilled on a few pounds due to the stress of a title race.
I wouldn’t mind my daughter bringing saka home. Or my son. Or they. Or them. Or he/him. Or she/her. Or we. Or us. Oh fuck it I’ve just lost the will to live. 😜
Lets hope that defenders don’t take that as permission to kick him to kingdom come and back. Refs, protect the brilliant players so we all can enjoy their skills.
Don’t seem to need permission
Tough lad! Great attitude.
Should we try a cheeky bit for Vinicius Jr? I’m sure the Arsenal fans would show him love, and he wouldn’t be expected to tolerate the crap he gets in Spain.
Actually, a bid wouldn’t be cheeky at all – downright forward thinking if you ask me.
Would make a nice change to steal a march on City in the transfer market for once.
And cue the downvotes….
I think it would be a great idea!
In all seriousness, where can Vinicius go if avoiding the crap he regularly faces now, while still playing at the top level, is the most important thing? Nowhere in Spain or Italy, one choice in Germany, one (horribly stupid) choice in France (who also have the only left-winger in the world who is better than him), and several possibilities in England. So, in reality, he stays at Madrid or goes to Bayern or comes to Arsenal, Liverpool, or a Manchester club. (Spurs and Chelsea, apart from our own dislike of them, are objectively a mess.) Or–though I think they will… Read more »
He looks set to sign a new contract in the coming weeks.
He seems like a strong character, I don’t think he would let the racists win and kick him out of Spain.
Add to that, Arsenal have their own group of Brazilians already, who could help him adapt. He might need a small drop in salary though. The problem is where does he play?
Refs will keep turning a blind eye whilst they get their lovely brown paper bag money from those lovely City Mansour people.
City get the title and the wife gets a new fur coat for Christmas.
All part of the beautiful game that we all love so much we pay Sky whatever they ask in subscriptions to have Gary Neville and Roy Keane wax lyrical on Pep and slag Arteta’s Arsenal off at every given opportunity.
And it’s live!! 🙄 🙄
This right here!
This is exactly why nothing meaningful will ever come of the investigations into £ity. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Watch as Newcastle grow in favouritism as the Saudi money now pours in. Is kroenke any better. Short answer: no. He just has less money and likes ranches more. Fucking billionaires. They are all cunts and they’re the source of the world’s problems including the state of world footy. Don’t be fooled by their philanthropic diversion tactics.
Glad I’m not the only cynic around here!!
Have a corruption-free virtual beer on me. Cheers! 😂👍🍺
Like you, I am no admirer of the Kronkes or, for that matter, the various other asshole billionaires who own all the clubs. But they are still a different from a sportswashing project–using the football club for something unrelated to sport or even profit. Roman Abramovich used Chelsea to make people view him as a normal, very rich, owner. The Abu Dhabi owners want us to think of them as just a normal country. The Saudiis–well Eddie Howe is a nice guy who has never murdered a journalist, has he?
As Blogs said on the most recent Arsecast Extra, Arsenal are a far more attractive option for a top drawer player to consider these days. Liverpool are fast becoming a busted flush, United are a domestic cup team and fuck all else, Newcastle are a rich Bolton and Chelsea are busy turning their West Stand into a dug out. That leaves the light blue cunts up the M1 and us. If we get in a decent shifty bid while no one is looking – stranger things have happened…. In the summer of ‘83 Charlie Nicholas was supposed to be going… Read more »
It is great that Saka considers himself fit/strong enough to handle the rough treatment. But then so did Moonpie in the film Rollerball..
If saka signed surely they have promised exciting stuff to come to him and his camp. I know he is only 21 but he seems to be quite the iconic player. I’m excited
That discipline, dedication, and determination, is what will make our Bukayo, one of the worlds great players
So happy that he’s able to cope with the demands of the number of matches he’s had. Let’s be honest it bodes well, physically and psychologically, for the number of matches we’ll want him involved in next season. When you look at his appearances they aren’t too different to the number of matches Messi played in at the same age. Obvs not at that level (yet!) but brilliant for his development at such a young age.
Incoming attempted ankle breaker from one of those wolves cloggers at the weekend.
I’d actually like to see Nelson start this match instead.
Saka has become favourite player. I loved Ian Wright when I was a kid, I loved Henry and Fabregas. But Bukayo, our Bukayo Saka, is just different. He’s our star but even in the way he plays there’s almost nothing which says “star”. He’s amazing, but he does it without fuss, he doesn’t need a quadruple step over to beat his man, it all looks so simple (which we all know it isn’t). But he also seems like the nicest kid – he’s a man – but still seems like a lovely kid in a way. I love him, I… Read more »