Analysis: How Bukayo Saka is becoming Arsenal’s best player
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on February 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. The youngster was handed his debut in the 2018-19 season by former boss Unai Emery, where he briefly featured in Arsenal’s Europa League tie versus Vorskla Poltava. However, it was a year later where he firmly established his name, scoring once and assisting twice in a 3-0 win against, opponents, Eintracht Frankfurt.

Two years on from his debut, Saka has solidified himself as a regular starter and has been a shining light for his team in what has been a bleak few years for the club.

  • One of the best youngsters in the world

After starring in Arsenal’s 4-2 win against Leeds United, Saka has now played over 5000 minutes for his boyhood club- equating to 70 senior appearances- an impressive feat for a 19-year-old.

Despite not registering a goal or assist, he did win a penalty and was instrumental for The Gunners as he yet again validated why he is one of the Premier League’s hottest prospects.

Impressively, Saka has scored, assisted, or won a penalty in every league win since November 1st, which perfectly encapsulates his importance to Mikel Arteta’s side.

 

He holds a strong case for being one of, if not, the best players at the club and is undoubtedly rivaling Manchester City’s Phil Foden for the title of the ‘best youngster’ in England.

Saka has five goals to his name- the most of any teenager in the Premier League this season - eclipsing Mason Greenwood and Callum Hudson-Odoi, both of whom are often held in the same conversation as the Arsenal man.

In 2020, he finished ninth in the Golden Boy awards, falling narrowly short of names such as Erling Braut Haaland, Ansu Fati and Jadon Sancho. Yet, by being considered amongst these star-studded names, it shows how highly rated he is at this early stage of his career.

  • A future Three Lions star

Arsenal’s number seven is mostly commended for his footballing intelligence, something in which he brings each time he graces the pitch. Saka’s maturity is regarded as his main quality, which, for someone of such inexperience, is a rarity. This allows him to single-handedly control games with the same ability as if he has been playing for a multitude of years.

Saka was rewarded for his early-season performances by England manager Gareth Southgate, who handed him his debut in a 3-0 win over Wales last October. Now capped four times for his country, Saka seems to have won the trust of Southgate and will be hopeful of securing a spot in the 23 man squad that will battle for the European Championship this summer.

 

Capable either at left-back or in a more advanced role, Saka may not be a dead cert to start, but there is no doubt he will be an important piece of the puzzle for the Three Lions in the upcoming tournament as well as future competitions.

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