It was a very young Arsenal team that Unai Emery picked to play against Qarabag last night, and the big surprise package was the debut of the 17 year-old Bukayo Saka who looked very calm and assured, never mind extremely skilful!
The youngster came very close to scoring in the first half with a curling ball into the corner, but the Qarabag keeper did well to deflect it away. He was presented with an open goal late on but fluffed his lines and kicked it straight at the keeper, but otherwise it was a very encouraging debut and was always willing to take on his man. He was obviously buzzing after the game. “It is a dream come true,” he said on Arsenal.com. “ever since I joined the club at the age of eight I always dreamed of playing at the Emirates, so for all the coaches and the fans to support me tonight was really good.
“I didn’t start too fast but I grew into the game and that’s what I wanted to do. I started to get past my man and create chances and I could have scored at the end, I don’t know what happened.”
Emery was also impressed and gave him a special mention in the after-game conference. “Today Saka also played with a good performance, with a very big personality and we were speaking at half-time. His personality is very important for us to continue trying to go 1v1 and break lines with his quality.
“He played with a very big personality and sometimes with a very good performance. It’s very important for his confidence and for us also, because we can look at this player and see quality to help us.”
Most onlookers agreed that Saka was excellent last night, but if you couldn’t watch it live, here is a youtube of his performance. Then decide for yourself….