ARSENAL

Bukayo Saka, the Next Big Thing for Arsenal?

The 19-year old Bukayo Saka has been the star performer this season for Arsenal.

Bukayo Saka was handed his professional debut by Unai Emery in 2018/19 shortly after his 17th birthday. However, it wasn’t until 2019/20 that he featured regularly in Arsenal’s first team. The Arsenal academy graduate primarily operates as a wide player. But following injuries to Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney, Saka deputized at left-back.

Saka displayed a maturity well beyond his age and became a regular in Mikel Arteta’s plans. Fast forward to January 2021, Bukayo Saka has been the player of the season for Gunners. The only spark in a lackluster Arsenal side. Saka has shown resilience and a strong mentality with impressive performances for the Gunners.

Bukayo Saka at Arsenal till now:

Despite starting only 29 of Arsenal’s 54 matches in all competitions in 2019/20. Bukayo Saka has been the top assist provider, even though playing as a left-back in most of the matches.

“He’s learning to adapt and to sacrifice for the team. If you are moved, to say ‘Okay, now if I do not play good, I have the right excuse because this is not my position’. It’s the complete opposite, he tries to learn, tries to pick things up straight away, and tries to be more productive for the team. He has done it really, really well.”

– Mikel Arteta on Bukayo Saka

Bukayo primarily plays on the left-wing. However, due to a string of poor performances from Nicholas Pepe and Willian, Mikel Arteta deploys youngster on the right-wing. And the youngster has elevated his game to the next level in his new role. With a goal and an assist in crucial victories over Chelsea and Brighton. Thus, winning Arsenal’s player of the month award for December.

Saka is direct on the ball and along with his technical ability fits the profile for a winger in Arteta’s system. A trait that record signing Nicolas Pepe lacks.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have managed to tie their prized assets Saka and Martinelli to a long-term contract. However, Arsenal still finds themselves in the bottom half of the table, ahead of their fixture against Crystal Palace.

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