Arteta must make sure that Saka does not become another Ox

If you all remember, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was used as a jack-of-all-trades by Arsene Wenger in his time at Arsenal, and Le Prof finally decided that his best position was as a wingback.

This did not go down well with the Ox and he made it clear when he went to Liverpool that he had no intention of playing that role in his new club, but it was definitely instrumental in him forcing Arsenal to accept Liverpool’s offer.

Now Mikel Arteta is using both Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka as makeshift wing-backs, and both are in danger of being definined in those roles. Maitland-Niles has already made it clear he wants to be a midfielder, and now Saka has also reiterated that he is only using this to learn more before returning to his favoured winger position. The youngster told Arsenal.com: “I’ve learned a lot about how wingers in the Premier League play against defenders and how to position myself because in his system it’s different,”

“I get to play much higher because the winger comes inside and I get to go. There’s a lot of space for me and it’s good for me. I’m playing sort of as a winger when we have the ball but without the ball I have to come back and work on my clearances, my heading and stuff I haven’t worked on my whole life. I feel like I’m doing ok right now.

“In the future if I do get to go back onto the wing I feel like I know how full backs play and playing as a full back I know what wingers do, what I like them to do and what I don’t like them to do. It’s a good learning experience for me.

“I’m really enjoying my football under the new manager. It’s not my natural position but he’s given me all the advice I need. I’ve got Granit behind, David supporting and speaking to me, so it gives me licence to go and express myself in the final third and do what I can do.”

He says it’s not his ‘natural position’ but he doesn’t sound as unhappy as the Ox did in his last few months and he is being very positive. Hopefully both him and AMN will be restored to their normal positions now that we have more defensive cover coming in….

11 Comments

  1. Phil says:

    While I agree the versatility of Ox helped us when needing cover, and the player himself by getting regular game time he may not necessarily have had, he was never given a CM role by Wenger because he wasn’t best suited to play there when we had more natural players four the position.
    Was he ever likely to start in an attacking central role over Cazorla, Rosicky, Ozil and Ramsey? Never in a million years.He was a wide attacking player only.
    And it was only when Wenger played a 3/5 at the back that he was asked to play as a LWB.
    Good player the Ox, but not good enough to exceed at Arsenal in any other position than out wide

    1. Warfa says:

      Yes James Milner always play as a LWB and in the middle of the Park rather than his normal position.

    2. RSH says:

      Klopp saw a better way to utilize him. So the fault is in the AFC coaching staff for not realizing his best position and getting the most out of him. Im sure there were opportunities to try him out in the middle considering all the injuries we got in those sides. Tho to be fair Ox was regularly injured himself. I dont regret the sale, because only Klopp was going to play him in the middle of the pitch, and at Arsenal he was just never that impressive. Good on Klopp for getting more out of him than we could.

  2. Sue says:

    Just saw on Sky that Son has a broken arm and is expected to be out for a number of weeks…….

    Saka shouldn’t be unhappy… jeez at his age playing for the best team in the world, he should be on cloud 9!!

    1. Siamois says:

      You beat me to it sue,I was going to post it and may be cheer up some of our fans !anyway 6 goals in his last 5 games for spurs,no one was mentioning/missing harry Kane no longer the case big blow 😁

  3. Danny says:

    It’s worrying how Saka mentioned he will leave it to his agent and parents to sort out his contract, I can’t stand that talk. Grow some and speak up for yourself. Tony Adams said he never once read his contract he just signed it because he was Arsenal through and through. Its a shame the kids coming through these days don’t feel the same. He deserves a good contract but still need to keep his feet on the floor lots to learn still

  4. Shakir says:

    Saka actually plays a wing back role now.His positioning in defence is sometimes questionable but he is still a teenager and he makes no mistakes going forward.And in MA’s system auba often drifts into the centre allowing saka to be more of a winger.The LB may not be his natural position but he sure is showing promising stuff in that position.Tierney and kolas got competition..

    COYG

  5. American Gunner Fan says:

    Saka already has more facets to his game than The Ox did when he left Arsenal. The experience he is getting now will serve to polish those facets as evidenced by the things he mentioned learning about in his comments.

    Auba isn’t going to play for Arsenal forever. If Saka is patient and continues to work hard on his game, he will step into Auba’s role when Auba leaves, whether that happens gradually or swiftly. Saka has the vision to be a superstar winger. If I can see that, I’m sure Arteta and the Arsenal FO can.

    Any experience that he can get in the Arsenal first team now, even if he is playing out of position, will prepare him to take over Auba’s role and make it his own. He just has to be a little patient and keep working to get better every day and a brilliant future awaits him at Arsenal. An utterly brilliant future!

  6. Reggie says:

    Saka and Ox are not comparable. Ox was always injured, never really strung a run of games together and we got good money for him. Saka is far better has more ability and i dont get this playing out of position waffle. If a player is good enough and doing an excellent job, he is playing in the correct position and coping with the job. Players often end up playing in different positions than they were when they were a kid and often when they get older. Its how you fit in the system not what is your favourite position. It may turn out he is a better left back or a better left sided attacker but it will all pan out as he gets more experience.

  7. Mobella says:

    Saka will never turn to Ox. Besides, the boy spent more time playing as a winger than a left back. Xhaka assumed that role the boy moved forward and PEA moved into the center. After that had been said, what is the essence of having and academy when clubs can keep the best of their graduates till they are 22-25. Chong according to what I read from the media is moving into Inter on free transfer depriving manu of everything they could have got on a player they spent much on developing. This has happened to us in the past and we also benefited from it but is not fair. If this continues to happen, it will eventually lead to big club abandoning their academies and look for players that are ready. Saka, I expect to have signed the contract before him if he love football that much. At least he is playing week in week out so what is the excuse. He should tell his agent or parents to agree to what ever is before them because by middle of next season if he continue developing his game he will be presented with an improved offer.

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