Cast your minds back to 30 September. Arsenal are playing Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Bukayo Saka’s contribution tonight, becoming the youngest starter in a PL game between @Arsenal & Man Utd
Completed 20/23 passes
19 duels, won 10
5 tackles (most for team)
2 shots, 1 on target
2 chances created, assist for Aubameyang’s goal pic.twitter.com/5lk1ssYfEw
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 30, 2019
3 – Bukayo Saka has both scored and assisted in three separate games for Arsenal this season (vs
Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liège and today against Bournemouth), no other player has done so more than once for the Gunners in 2019-20. Future. #FACup #BOUARS pic.twitter.com/3fzm8AEPgo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 27, 2020
Immediately hitting the ground running, Saka has shown an adept ability to create chances and score goals. Remarkably, he has been directly involved in ten goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season (three goals and seven assists) – only Gabriel Martinelli (13) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (17) have been involved in more for the Gunners in 2019-20, per Opta.
Future at Left-Back?
However, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s play this season shows how modern players can dominate games from the back. Arsenal have a technically gifted player, who gives so much going forward, with intelligent passing, endless running and an eye for goal.
A player who is so dynamic from a defensive position is a rarity that all great teams have possessed over the years. Lahm for Germany and Bayern, Alves at Barcelona, Marcelo at Madrid, Roberto Carlos and Cafu for Brazil. We’re certainly getting ahead of ourselves, but i
Best of the Lot?
In what’s been a depressing season, Arsenal’s young crop can keep the fans dreaming. Who’s been the best? Let’s quickly run through:
Reiss Nelson has fallen away a little bit of late but his play in the Bundesliga last year can keep fans optimistic. A recent scruffy goal against Leeds will hopefully boost his confidence.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been up and down, being played out of position and ultimately, receiving a fair amount of criticism. It was good to see him being played in his correct position on Tuesday night and he has more to give.
Joe Willock had his best game this season against Bournemouth but hasn’t been able to make the grade in the first team. He plays a tall and athletic game, however, it would be great to see some more end product.
Eddie Nketiah keeps scoring for whoever he’s playing for but wasn’t able to break into Bielsa’s Leeds.
Gabriel Martinelli has been a standout this season, with pace, finishing ability and skill clearly on show. The Brazilian could be Arsenal’s player of the season but has scored plenty of his goals in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
So where does that leave Saka? He’s been by far the most consistent performers out of these six, contributing against every level of opponent. Saka is also the youngest and rarely gets substituted.
It’s not for 90min to decide, but whatever the case, the future’s bright, the future’s red – the future could be Bukayo Saka for Arsenal.