Friday, April 12, 2024

“I just need to deal with it” – Saka ready for double-team tactics

Six goals and nine assists in 18 matches suggest Bukayo Saka is thriving again this season, and yet, to watch the winger since August, it’s clear he’s not playing with the same freedom as last year.

The same can be said of Arsenal as a whole. Arguably the most exciting team to watch during in the 22/23 campaign, Arteta has his team tuned to a different frequency this time around, preferring to grind down opponents rather than blow them away.

Is it a deliberate ploy? Or have rivals just got a better measure of us? Perhaps it’s both.

That’s certainly something Saka seemed to suggest following Saturday’s 1-0 win at Brentford.

The Gunners were far from their fluid best at the Community Stadium but they found a way to unlock the Bees’ defence just in the nick of time; substitute Kai Havertz converting from close range after Saka finally found the space needed to curl a delicious cross to the back post.

“The managers know a bit more how we play and it’s up to us to adapt in each game and to find a solution,” Saka told the Evening Standard.

“Of course, each game is different but we know that we can be a lot better. We’re especially working on breaking teams down, but we’re still getting really good results and we’re top of the league. So we can be really happy.”

“I feel like a lot of games I’m facing a double team with two guys on me and it’s the same for Gabi [Martinelli],” he added.

“It’s happening in every game. I keep watching all my games back trying to find a solution, what I can do better.

“In the end, I just feel like I need to understand that this is how it’s going to be this season and I just need to deal with it and keep finding a way like I did today. That’s what I need to keep doing.”

Saka and Arsenal return to action on Wednesday when French side Lens visit the Emirates. The Gunners know a win will secure top spot in Group B with a game to spare.

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Bill Hall

It’s a pain in the area but also a great compliment that opposing teams are so scared of Saka and Gabi they put two players on them. When they do we just need to make the most of the extra man!

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