This season is as good as over folks so we may as well start analysing it a bit. It feels that Emery is a much more distant memory than the amount of time he actually has been away from the club, but with an election, the ‘start’ of Brexit, the death of our beloved dog Henry, and the outbreak of the pandemic, a lot has happened since Freddie and then Mikel took over; and this season will be remembered for decades. albeit mainly negatively, I fear.
One of the few really BIG sparks of the season (so far) is without any doubt the emergence of the silkiest Gunner in a generation: Bukayo Saka. Four goals and eight assists in 1721 minutes of football for the club in all competitions, and that at just 18 years of age. Pretty amazing. But stats do not tell the whole story about Bukayo who has played most of his minutes as a defender, albeit with a licence to attack, and then attack again.
Watch this video even though it contains nothing new to your eyes, I reckon. Such is his impact on us that we know all his moves and key moments. The use of his speed, body and strong balance, as well as his ability to read the game well, make a more than decent defender. There are areas for improvement but very few teams tried to constantly put pressure on our left side of defence during the season, which is an indication that they didn’t see Saka as a weakness in our defence.
Bukayo is a very sharp passer of the ball and he combines so naturally with his fellow players. His first touch is good and his first pass is quick and almost always measured.
But what is most impressive is his ability to be simultaneously intense and calm, which reminds me a bit of Marc Overmars’ time at the home of football. Attack space and get past a player (or two), look up for the best next move, deliver a peach of a cross or pass, and boom we score a goal: that’s Saka!
Bukayo is also constantly in control of the moment and the space around him… at just 18 years of age. Fellow BKers did we ever have a finer gem on our hands?