Bukayo Saka not ready to step aside for Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is not going to give his place up without a fight.

Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka is ready to challenge Alexandre Lacazette for a starting place. The 18-year-old is confident that he has shown Unai Emery that he can be trusted.

Saka has started the last three Premier League games and is no doubt hoping to make it four against Sheff Utd. Lacazette is obviously looking to slot straight back in now that he has recovered from his ankle injury.

The youngster has done very little wrong and has been impressive and is ready for the more experienced Frenchman.

Saka said: “Do I feel ready to challenge him? Yeah!

“It’s always good to have all our best players available, all of us competing makes us push to play better and better. If one player is injured then others get an opportunity but I want everyone to come back and do the best for Arsenal.

“The boss knows what I can do, what the other players can do. Different games require different players but I feel like I’ve shown the boss he can trust me. Whatever game he puts me I’ll always give it my all.

“It has always been a dream for me. I’ve been working for this moment as a kid, in the academy. Now I’ve got to the first team I just want to give it my best to repay the faith the boss has given me.”

It is very positive that Arsenal has youngsters challenging the senior players, however, I suspect that Saka will need to be patient.

Lacazette is at his peak, he is playing fantastic football and there is very little chance he will be dropped.

If I had to place a bet I would put my money on Saka replacing Pepe before Lacazette.


  1. I think so far the youngster has a case for a spot on the wing. Laca & Auba shud compete for centre forward coz neither of them are as effective out wide.

  2. See this boy gets it: “The boss knows what I can do, what the other players can do. Different games require different players”

    Exactly what I said in the previous thread – sometimes Laca’s physicality and directness is going to be more beneficial for the team, at others maybe Saka and his tricksy footwork coming from wide is going to be the key that’s needed.

    That’s what Emery wants though – 25 players each with their own strengths and weaknesses that he can pick to suit the game ahead of them, adapting the team to best fit the opponent.

    1. Why? Because VAR rules were not bent to help Liverpool?

      VAR disallows a goal if during the buildup:
      1. there was an offside
      2. there was a handball

      It does not disallow a goal if there was a foul in the buildup. That’s the ref’s job. Stupid or not, that’s how it now is, and there was no need for Liverpool to be helped once again (which is anyhow happening ridiculously often). On the other hand – yeah — the refs are still overpowered by the Old Trafford atmosphere. So don’t expect many English refs refereeing top European games…

      1. See this is why I was always against VAR. It’s actually proving to be more controversial.

        Goal line technology I love, because it’s black and white. Offside, I don’t, because how do we know down to the exact millisecond, when the ball is kicked, in time with the player making their run? You won’t always get the perfect angle to see this. And the VAR team seem to pick and choose when to apply VAR. There has been some blatant pens, and they’ve not got involved! I thought VAR was brought in to eradicate injustices?

        I always felt we couldn’t bring VAR in, because if it were used properly, you have to stop for every controversial moment, which would destroy the ebb and flow of the game. Maybe that’s what the law makers thought of, thus only using VAR at specific moments, but it then becomes even more frustrating knowing that some of these controversies are being ignored on technicalities.

      2. Then was Klopp lying when he said the referee to.d him he let it go as VAR would tell, it was a foul end of, and had it happened in the box that’s a cast iron penalty, probably to Man Utd

  3. Saka will not replace Pepe because they play in different positions and Saka didn’t play well as an RW

    Aubameyang, Martinelli and Nelson are the ones that can replace Saka in the LW position

    I believe Saka and Tierney can build a good partnership on the left wing

    1. Whilst Saka may not be able to replace Pepe in his position (in your opinion) he can still replace him in the starting squad.
      Example for clarity – Emery plans to play Pepe on the right, Laca up front and Nelson on the left in the next match, but Saka puts in a good stint in training whilst Pepe seems off his game, so instead he decides to swap Nelson to the right and play Saka on the left. Saka thereby replaces Pepe in the squad.

        1. So have we spent £72,000,000 on a player who hasn’t got work ethics and needs to learn from youngsters who have just broken into the first team squad?

          Perhaps, instead, he could still be adapting to a new league, a new club, a new system and pssibly homesick?

          No – let’s just start to crucify yet another one of our players – you know it makes sense.

  4. In my opinion Saka/Martinelli will be replaced by Aubameyang when Lacazette comes back who will play up front. Nobody will replace Pepe

  5. front line Auba, Lava and Pepe, in midfield Dani, Torreira and Xaka,centre half Sokratis and Holding, right back Chambers and sead left back and Gk must Leno

  6. Although the youngsters like Saka and Nelson and Martinille looks promising, Laca and Auba are irreplaceable and even can slot into most of the teams in the world. The only concern is Pepe.
    But we have to stuck with him for a while now. No doubt he is extremely talented and even if he sows half what he did last season in France, we are good enough.
    So may be these youngsters needs to be happy with cameo appearance in PL.
    In cup and Europa they really needs to keep doing things what they have been doing. No one is yet ready for PL

    1. Agree about the youngsters. Just like Guenduozy in the national team with Deschamps gave him a chance but still mainly part of the under 21 squad.
      As about Laca and Auba is I think more about the fact that Auba has proven his best position is as a central forward. If it weren’t for him in that position, we might get less goals and points. No doubt that it’s also a fact that they have good partnership in front but now with Emery prefers 3 in front perhaps we could eventually see the most effective formation in attack. After all, compares to last season with only Auba and Laca available, we have some possible combinations this season with Saka, Martinelli and Pepe in the team.

      1. But when we played with Auba + Laca during Wenger’s final 13 games or so, we were scoring a ton of goals, even if Auba is more of a CF now after so many years of not being a winger.

        1. Play Lacazette slightly behind Aubameyang, so he can drop deeper to receive the ball, interchange or either can drift left or right, similar to Bergkamp and Henri.

        2. Yeah, and we also won five games in a row last season, playing our four best players in Auba-Lacz-Ramsey-Ozil…funny how when one looks back, the present seems to be a complete mystery!!!

  7. What if Lacazette plays slightly behind Aubameyang..as a supporting striker like Chicharito and Rooney would operate? They formed a devastating strike patnership that way. This would allow both Pepè and Saka to keep their spots without anyone having to play out of position.

    1. And what formation do you have in mind? If it means playing Pepe as a wide midfielder, don’t you think it would result in the same endless discussion with the player not tracking back? As we know, the attack on Pepe’s performance is also about that.

      1. It’s a 4-4-1-1. Even if we play 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 Pepè will still end up wide. Unless we start using Pepè as a striker in a diamond 4-3-1-2. We could have 3 strikers on the pitch and if you add Saka and Martinelli on either flank, 5 strikers! 🤣🙌

        1. I think there’s going to be a problem on the right.

          Pepe + Bellerin as RW + RB is going to be absolutely dreadful defensively. Torreira could help a bit, but the Xhaka – Guendouzi combo can barely defend the center of the pitch, I wouldn’t count on them to support the right side as well.

  8. Why can’t Laca play in the hole. The No.10 position? He’s hard working and can score from out of the box. He has good ball control and will have the freedom to roam. We can use same 4-2-3-1 as Wengers except we have a really good ball winning player in Laca.

  9. He could easily slot in a 4-2-3-1 formation


    Well this is not Fifa

  10. Jamie Carragher marvelled at his “composure and quality” on the ball. The notoriously hard-to-please Roy Keane talked up his “lovely” performance. Even Cesc Fabregas voiced his approval. “Saka is a player,” he wrote on Twitter. “Eighteen years old and showing great maturity.”

    It’s that ability that has propelled Saka into the spotlight, moving him above fellow academy graduates Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock in Emery’s pecking order, but what’s just as encouraging for Arsenal supporters is that he is demonstrating the right character too. Saka is confident and mature on the pitch and humble off it.

    “Respectful, very hard-working and always willing to learn,” is how club captain Granit Xhaka described him recently. They are traits recognisable not just to those working in Arsenal’s academy

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