Bukayo Saka’s quality

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta answers bold question on Bukayo Saka’s quality

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By Martin Graham | 20th Mar 2023

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Bukayo Saka, while refusing to get carried away regarding the youngster’s current form.

The 21-year-old continued his remarkable season with a brace for the Gunners at the weekend against Crystal Palace, bagging a brace in the 4-1 rout to see the league leaders win their fifth consecutive league game.

With his latest brace, Saka is now the first and only player in the Premier League this season to hit double digits so far in both goals and assists and is also now a top contender to win the Player of the Year as well as Arsenal’s Player of the Season for the third season in succession.

Despite his growing stature and influence in the Arsenal ranks, Mikel Arteta insists that the youngster can even be better and refuses to get carries away by his current run of form.

Arteta comments on just how good Saka is

Asked whether Saka is the best player in the league right now, Arteta said: “I think the team did really well and we obviously have individuals that excel to be at the level that we want, but he was really, really good today again, affecting the result with his contribution, especially in the opponent’s box, so I’m really happy.”

Saka himself did not say too much about his numbers but chose to praise Rob Holding – who came in for the injured William Saliba – to make his first start of the season and put in a brilliant performance on his own.

“I gave him a big hug when he came into the changing room because he deserves it,” Saka beamed afterward. “He was magnificent. We need that, you know, when he’s coming in to stay at the level that we’ve been playing.

“He was unbelievable today, so credit to him.”

Saka’s latest milestone means it is the first time Arsenal have had a player reach 10+ goals and 10+ assists since Alexis Sanchez in 2016/17.

Talking about his stats so far this season, Saka said: “I’m just happy to help my team. Each game I want to go into the games and try and affect them in the best way to help my team win, whether that’s scoring or assisting. I managed to do that today and help us win the game, so I’m happy again.”

Arsenal now take an eight-point lead at the point of the table into the international break, though Manchester City still have a game in hand. With 10 games left, anything can happen but the Gunners are surely in the driving seat as it stands.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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