Former Gunner reveals why he believes Saka is struggling

Kevin Campbell believes Bukayo Saka is struggling right now because Ben White is not an offensive full-back.

Arsenal has been in superb form in this campaign, as they have won their opening four league games of the season.

Every part of their team functions well now and the players all deserve credit for how they have performed so far.

However, Saka has not been in blistering form as we expect him to be, and some fans would be worried.

Most of Arsenal’s play happens on the left-hand side where Oleksandr Zinchenko, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli play.

This has been Arsenal’s most productive wing so far and Campbell explains why they don’t find that much joy on the right.

He tells Football Insider:

“I just think that things are happening on the left-hand side solely because of Granit Xhaka and Zinchenko.

“Sometimes one releases the other. You don’t have that on the other side with the way that Martin Odegaard plays.

“We know what Saka can do but Ben White has been deputising as a full-back and has done a really good job but he’s not an offensive full-back, he’ll be one that sits there.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

One good thing Arsenal has done so far is to not rely on Saka as we have done in previous seasons.

This has freed the Englishman from pressure, however, he is not as involved in our matches as he should be.

The attacker can do more. He and White probably need to spend more time on the training ground working together.

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Tags Bukayo Saka Kevin Campbell


  1. Arsenal should stay clear of Assencio…..he has regressed. I rather we use marquinhos if we are not signing anyone than waste money on him. Zaha could still play upto 3 years at top level so I don’t see why we can’t sign him. Put in a bid for Len’s fofana. Man is a different beast and he’s not that expensive. He’s better than Elneny in all aspect.

    1. Agree re Marquinhos ….play him against Villa if 3-0 up as need to see if he can be a super sub

      Zaha would be another great option though he would want to start. . Not sure good for Martinelli or Saka so let’s use Marquinhos …we can change it in Jan and also get someone in on loan till Jan

  2. To get the best out of Saka , he needs to be played on the left wing and not as an inverted RW where ,like the majority of that species, he becomes utterly predictable.Saka is a terrific talent who has an ability to run and dribble past right backs on the outside and cross on the run, in the mold of Neto of Wolves in whom we have an interest apparently..Furthermore, having played for Arsenal and England as a LWB, he is fully aware and competent in the defensive duties required when the opposition has the ball.The prospect of facing Saka on the left, supported by Tierney and/or Zinchenko, or indeed, both, would cause the opposition real concern, and as Martinelli, ESR and Jesus are all capable on the right wing, we do not have to bring in a replacement for Pepe, in my opinion.A top quality DM is what we need to add real steel to the side.

    1. Absolutely agree… I never understand when they play people on the wrong wing. Same with Pepe..he always had to cut inside and hence couldnt perform at his best

  3. I think CAMPBELL has a fair point. But its a wider one than simply White supposedly not adequately supporting SAKA.

    Fot proper context on my last point ,it NEEDS to be added that in both those teams, they have a real depth of all round strength across the whole eleven and can therefore afford to use defenders as quasi attackers.

    We are slowly but steadily , IMO, trying to go down that same route and most often it works well. But our problem, by comparison to them both, is that we have some lesser players in our regular team ; namely Xhaka , who despite the praise he is now getting , still lacks basic speed and also mobility.

    Yes, as he is now used further forward his defensive lapses are not so noticed . But ALL ELEVEN players in anygreat team need to be of true quality, in order to use defenders regularly higher up the pitch.
    Citys and Liverpools are. Ours are not ALL of the required quality, as to the all important gift of PACE AND MOBILITY.

    And we are currently having to also use Elneny, who we surely know would not get within a million miles of both those rival teams Reality!

    1. Lesser players ie Xhaka ? are you for real ? seriously ? have you been watching the games? or is you know nothing about football … i would say the latter… Xhaka has always been played out of position ever since Wenger brought him ! wenger tried to mould him into a defensive mid but he is not that. Arteta plays him further forward when we have Partey Available! so you are off your head to say Xhaka is a lesser player !! the guy has been outstanding ever since Arteta took over and this season Wow what a player Xhaka IS !!

    2. I don’t understand why everything is about xhaka. Leave that man alone. He’s a better player now. Saka not in good form how is that xhaka’s fault. We just need a back up for for party. You should fault the club for resigning Eleny. I don’t understand that.

  4. Saka can easily be burned out. Too much can be expected of players phsically and even emotionally. Edu/Arteta/Kroenke must still splash the cash or we will suffer if a forward or even Partey get injured or exhausted.

  5. Personally i think there is alot of truth in what Campbell has said. But there is also one other thing playing with Saka and that is his contract.. I personally think kits more likely to be his contract messing with his head. As to why his form is not there?? City have shown their interest in him and he must be thinking about it. Or he would have signed already ? or is it that his agent is trying to squeeze more out of the club for Saka. Either way it is messing with his head ! a settled player is a Happy player !!

  6. Saka will be fine. He’s adding something to his game. I see him slow down a lot lately in his forward runs, a bit like Sterling does. When mastered he will be even more dangerous. He also didn’t get any room to shoot this season because defenders know how deadly he can be.

  7. i feel that saka is finished as a top class player,i worry for him to be honest.there is something badly wrong within him, and, i wonder can this problem ever be sorted. i certainally hope that he can regain his skills and flair and passion in the very near future.he does not look right at all,it is as if he is carrying a secret, cant explain it ,but i feel he is not the same young man as he was last season. heres hoping that i am completely wrong.

    1. Saka is finished as a top-class player! What are you smoking mate? Starbwoy is still top quality. He just needs time to adjust to the new players and style of play. KC is spot on: Saka’s game is predictable now and will benefit from an overlapping wing back. Odegaard’s first goal last week came front a square pass from White, overlapping on the right side. You need to watch the games, my friend.

  8. If Saka needs someone else to be playing a certain way before he can contribute then that says something negative about Saka, not the other player.

    Normal wingers are likely to go on the outside – but they’re better at it since they’re not running into midfield and a horde of other players, which is what happens when an inverted winger uses his natural foot to beat his marker on the inside – he finds that he’s just another bloke in midfield.

    There can be an advantage to playing that way against teams with big CBs where crossing the ball can be a poor tactic so it’s better to run at them… but playing that way all the time seems a bit strange.

  9. Saka has been in bad form period! How does a player who is 20/21 of age get to be finished again? A player doesn’t rot overnight I think Saka needs a bit of time to adjust to the pace of the new season.

  10. Yes, Ben White, Tommy , Thomas Partly and Saka need to train more together, in order to awaken the right Flank . It is a little weaker. This is an important
    Observation before the match with Villa.
    Saka is virtually struggling to break through alone. Being heavily marked by all opponents and having no real relay partners, he finds it difficult to perform since the start of the season.
    So, he is seen as underperforming which is not quite true. Let him train with those playing on the Right Flank
    Odegard is for the MIDDLE Axe and
    he is performing well there.

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