Opinion: the brilliance of the team has overshadowed Saka’s poor form and that is a good thing

Bukayo Saka hasn’t made the best of starts to this campaign but it hasn’t exactly affected Arsenal.

This is a good sign of progress, and it almost calls for celebration.

The youngster has carried the Arsenal team alone for much of the time since he broke into the senior side.

Saka is still the most valuable player at the Emirates, but his form in this campaign has been poor.

Nevertheless, Arsenal has been winning their matches and the Gunners have also seen several other members of the squad step up to score goals or provide assists.

This means we are now building a team that is bigger than any player, and that is how great teams are built.

Every player is important to a club and some of them contribute more to its success, but when a team relies on a player to win matches, it becomes terrible and hinders progress.

What we have at the Emirates now is an Arsenal team that is filled with talented players who can score or provide an assist for the team to win matches instead of waiting for a game-changer like Saka to do that.

In the last few weeks, we have watched as Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ben White, Thomas Partey, among others have stepped up their performance and the reward has been evident.

Hopefully, the team continues in this direction and wins trophies to show their progress.

Tags Bukayo Saka


  1. Let’s hope so as Pepe seems to me that he needs to grow up a bit.
    Watching last night he seems to panic half the time.
    Any way the match last night was’nt a match to judge to many with the cup that it was.
    AFC tokens gone public today for any that want a slice of the best team around.

  2. He’ll produce assists and goals again, because of his competition with Pepe and the way we play to open up the space for our RW. He just needs to play more often with Lacazette, White and Tomiyasu, to build a better understanding

  3. Also, Teirney is not doing great in comparison to what he was doing in the previous season. I’m sure it’s just a period of time and they will be back again.

  4. He has a suffered a dip form, and he is now strongly targeted by opposing teams but he is a very good player. He needs to be advised to release the ball earlier to avoid injuries, the English game is known for killing talents. I wonder if Messi would have fully developed if he was playing in England. The following ball players were destroyed in England, Edwardo, Wilshire, Diaby. Fabrigas managed to thrive well.

  5. The concept of playing Saka and for that matter Pepe as inverted right wingers is open to severe scrutiny in my opinion.Both of these wingers are capable of taking on their markers,usually more than one, but on the right wing they are not ,or rarely, up to crossing the ball on the run before the opposition defenders have time to regroup.Time after time they invariably cut back on to their stronger left foot ,and usually the ball is recycled and another phase begins.Yesterday, against Leeds was a classic opportunity to switch Pepe and Martinelli during the game as they were making little impression on proceedings, yet Arteta failed to do so.It must surely be evident to him and his support team that the inherent talent within Pepe in particular , is highly unlikely to be unleashed on the right, and imo, Saka too would be more effective on the left.In the game today,full backs are expected to overlap and cross on the run, something that used to be the task of conventional wingers.I only wish some EPL Manager would have the gumption to revert to a method of playing wingers on their natural side , a tactic which was highly successful in the years gone buy.The game of football has not changed over the years despite the language now used by Managers and pundits.It is a simple game which is being complicated unnecessarily by those in authority and fans, who imagine Managers of the past to be clueless.A classic example is the suggestion that the high press is something new.This is nonsense .In the fifties and sixties it was not unusual for wingers to be on top of their full back opponents at goal kicks and the same applied to inside forwards setting up against the opposing wing halves.So the idea that a left footed winger must be better on the right is flawed and apart from Messi in his earlier days, very few have been successful throughout their career.There we are.My. Mini rant is over.Switch Pepe and Saka to the left, and Martinelli to the right, and they will all be more productive.

    1. Oh Wow Grandad! What a refreshingly wise and sensible post which debunks some of the new football coaching jargon and realises that nothing is actually THAT new in todays football.

      LOW BLOCK for instance; where did that meaningless and change for changes sake phrase come from!
      Low means less than high; so is a headed clearance still a “low block” then”!!! A meaningless phrase therefore!

      It used to be called “parking the bus” and came in with Mourinho. who is himself RELATIVELY modern in our football history.
      So going back many decades ago, NO side ever defended deep with men behind the ball I suppose! Of COURSE they did!

      Pressing was done, esp by the Liverpool team back in the 70’s and 80’s, with such as Rush and others closing down space.
      And going back much further still, as you highlighted too!

      But now it is the new buzz word for something that is as old as the hills.
      Just as kit changes pointlessly, simply to make money, so these daft and meaningless buzzwords are taken up by the unthinking mass of younger fans, without any concept whatsoever of what happened decades ago.

      So many young fans really imagine that they have reinvented the wheel . Well they have NOT, as you said so well.
      Thanks a lot for injecting some much needed and oft forgotten sense into the debate.

      PS I could not agree more about the futility of inverted wingers. Forcing a winger to play on his weaker foot is simply stupid, IMO! It harms rather than helps our team.

  6. @Grandad

    These wingers are no longer called wingers but forwards and they are now expected to score goals and assist like wingers, they are task with double responsibilities. These forwards now compete with strikers on how many goals they score a season and most have outscored the main strikers. Eg Ronaldo, Salah, Mane and a host of them.

    Football has evolved but i believe all wingers cant perform that role thats why i will agreed to Pepe being shifted to the left where he may be more effective.

    1. Sam ,I don’t know how old you are but I could give you dozens of examples of conventional wingers who made and scored goals in the 50’s and 60’s one of which was the great Tom Finney of Preston and England.In any event Pepe is not in the same class as Salah, and never will be, but I am pleased we at least agree with regard to moving him to the left flank.

  7. A few things have changed in Saka’s life in the past year.

    He became a star at Arsenal because of his play in the second half of last season.

    He was picked in the England squad for the Euros.

    In his first Euros game he played so well that he was always in the picture to play in the subsequent England games.

    His stature has greatly increased, making our expectations of him grow.

    So he started this season, having had little rest, and had become a player opposing teams chose to mark.

    I think the performances of ESR this season, and Auba’s recent return to form, may ease the load on Saka for a while, but he has to learn that increased exposure and praise will make him a target, and he will have to come to terms with that.

    I hope he matures and can take all of this new exposure in his stride

    Let’s hope he can manage those expectations going forward.

  8. Saka is young and is very talented. Form is temporary and class is permanent. He will come good. Agree though with Grandad that Pepe should be moved on the left, he seems to be lost right now.

  9. Agree with those who say pepe on left if he plays at all. At least he can put in a cross from that position. We’re seeing the same thing over and over on the right. I know ideally we want him to cut in a put in a nice curler, but he is incapable of doing this without ruining our transitions, allowing opposition to get back, and inevitably losing the ball. As for Saka, yeah a dip in form for the 20 year old. But it’s nice that others can help while he rediscovers his form. Same with Tierney. Hopefully they will both pick it up soon. I think White and Lokonga are slowly growing into their own as well with this side. Really the main worry is finding consistency with our performances. If we go back to playing a slow game and aren’t creative with our passing, we will suffer again.

  10. Players who were in the Euros had less breaks or less preparations which affected their form imo.
    They will catch up gradually.

  11. I agree with everyone on Pepe, left wing is better for him.
    He is great at shooting which is why MA hopes he can cut and do the magic but the number if times he manages to get a shooting opportunity are very rare in comparison with the top level inverted wingers.
    Saka on the other hand is doing fairly well and at the moment ESR is doing great on the left, so I do not want one of them benched or to see Pepe or Martin on the right .
    Gabi surprisingly was fairly good at the right in EFL, the question if he can produce that in the higher level.

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