Bukayo Saka explains how he copes with players always trying to smash him

Bukayo Saka is recognised as one of the trickiest players in Europe, often prompting defenders to resort to physical tactics, including fouls, to stop him. Both Saka and his manager, Mikel Arteta, have advocated for more protection, emphasising the need to address the heavy challenges he faces on the pitch.

While seeking fair treatment rather than special privileges, Saka has continued to refine his game, becoming more adept at eluding defenders and minimising the impact of heavy tackles. In recent weeks, the attacker has showcased significant improvement, contributing crucial goals and providing assists for his Arsenal teammates.

Saka, now regarded as one of the best wingers globally, has shed light on how he copes with the physical challenges imposed by opposing defenders.

The Euro 2020 finalist said, as quoted by 90mins:

“When I go on the pitch I’m there to have fun and to enjoy. 

“I would say I learned a lot over the last few seasons, when I started to get more and more tackles and defenders have started to enjoy more and more kicking me, I spoke to a few defenders and now I understand it.

“So for me, when I see a defender trying to smash me, as long as he doesn’t get me, I’m laughing or I’m smiling because I take it as a compliment.

“I don’t think a defender would be calling for help or a defender would want to smash me if he didn’t see me as a threat. So, for me, if he tries to smash me and I get away with it, I just laugh and just get on with the game, because I guess it’s part of it.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

Saka is getting smarter and knows he needs that to evade tackles from players who do not care about injuring him as long as they limit his impact. 

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Tags Bukayo Saka


  1. The problem with that is, I remember so clearly the tackles on Eduardo and Ramsey.
    He just needs referees to protect him within the rules of the game.

    1. Ken as yellow cards are now ten a penny and pretty meaningless generally,and teams are crafty about taking turns to foul such top players as SAKA, refs badly need to become more streetwise themselves and that means red carding managers who allow and encourage rotational fouling.

      Until REFS learn the GAME , not merely the rules(I refuse to call what ARE rules, “laws”) this weekly thuggery will continue unchecked. Sigh!

        1. KEN I read ALL posts correctly, as I am highly educated and can and do use English better than anyone onJA, yourself very mich included.

          I trust you will read and digest my next post correctly, though I have no real faith that you will, based on past form.

          1. Jon, I read your posts and DIGEST THEIR CONTENTS before replying – something you seem incapable of doing at times.

            Remember this Jon, just because you went to a university doesn’t make you smarter than anyone else.
            Common sense doesn’t come with a degree and that is plainly obvious in your case.

          2. Didn’t you say you don’t believe in happenings of the past having any effect on the present??? You are clueless Jon

          3. How about you humble yourself a little and lower your wings of conceitedness a bit, Jon!

            You’re not better than everyone here with the usage of English language; that I can tell you confidently, as there are many folks here who are head and shoulders far better than you in writing and thought.

            Anyone who has been following you keenly on this site would surely attest to how erratic and inept your writings are, and how arrogant your thoughts have always been, most times.

            Anyone who is usually known for slighting others and their opinions and thinks that he is better than them, is in most cases, worse than them, in reality, but he hardly perceives that.

            Be humble! You won’t die for doing that. Phew!!!

  2. I have always begged to differ, I am a big fan of our star boy and he is very good if not very much overhyped by his coach and a a few others, I honestly don’t think he needs any distinct protection or special treatment, the same way that Steven Gerrard advised him 18 months ago, you run at players, that’s your style, you get kicked and rightfully that is how such a style gets intercepted. That is football!! It can happen to anyone. He is not the only dribbler, Rashford runs at defenders, does he get kicked? Maybe yes or no or maybe Rashford is considered as being not in the same level as Saka. Do we need to mention Messi and a few other dribblers? Arteta moans a lot at times, Saka should just review his skills catalogue and find alternative ways that may offer that special protection, not the refs or football rules.

    1. You must be a United fan to even bring Rushford to such a conversation, how regularly does he make a successful run at a defender – Saka does averages 5-10 times every match!
      IF you are not too young you would remember Ferguson asking for protection of young tricky CR7, Wenger called for the same for his “kids” as likes of Evra liked to call them – at the time every team in EPL knew to stop that team you had to rough/kick at them, Barcelona coach was always asking for Messi protection especially from Madrids rough Pepe & Ramos who clattered Messi at will at times even when the ball is not at play. – so yes every manager has a right to ask for protection of his top players from un-football, dangerous tackles.

      1. I am yet to see an un-football/ dangerous tackle on Saka. Don’t get me wrong, I do acknowledge that he has been fouled or kicked as some describes, but I don’t know if there is any better way of dealing with a dangerous player that runs at you with the ball….. I don’t see any other footballing way besides tackling… but I’m yet to see a rough one on Saka in the EPL, surprisingly all the refs seems to just see them as mere fouls, not even for VAR consideration, and he still plays 40+ games with minor niggles just like anyone else. Lets not delude Saka and plant a seed of him being a “target”.

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