It was a difficult night at Bramall Lane for Arsenal on Monday night when they played against Sheffield United in their Premier League fixture, an outing that ended in a 1-0 loss for the Gooners.
The game was an important to-win for Arsenal as it would have seen them move a step up in the Premier League table but their loss saw them drop to the 5th position.
Looking at Arsenal’s past games, they have a habit of letting ‘small teams’ score bonus points off them and it has become a matter of serious concern. Apart from that being one of the reasons they miss winning the cup by near chance, it’s embarrassing to see them fumble over clubs that should not be a pain for them.
One of the players who had a very difficult time fitting into the game on Monday was Bukayo Saka. The 18-year-old English winger played from the start of the game and had no impact till the end of the game. His most noticeable moment was in the first half when he moved into the box and appeared to be fouled by centre-back John Egan and was booked by referee Mike Dean for simulation. Replays later showed that there was no contact.
His stat for the match was really not impressive as well. He had an average possession of 2.8 and touched the ball 41 times. He also had a total pass of 23, 16 accurate and one key pass along with five dribbles. He did not have a shot on goal even with a pass completion rate of 70%.
It’s also good to note that he was dispossessed once and failed to make a single tackle or win an aerial duel throughout the match.
His performance showed only one thing which anyone that watched closely would have concluded on and that was the fact that Saka needs help. The only person ahead of him was Aubameyang who didn’t perform too exceptionally well too.
What Bukayo Saka needs
What Saka needs is a playmaker through which everything can be built; the winger could then get in behind or choose to come short and receive the ball at the beginning of an attack.
As seen in the match against Sheffield, he can’t hustle for the ball well enough or not as aggressively as it should be and that starves him of the balls he could make use of. With a play-maker feeding him, the only thing he’ll have to worry about is getting in the finish passes.
Just maybe Alexandre Lacazette’s return to fitness will help; he could always be restored to the starting XI alongside Aubameyang and having both on the field would give Saka two targets to hit instead of one.
For a youngster like him, an opportunity is rare and should be used to the maximum. His performance against Sheffield United wasn’t half impressive and he cannot afford to have another kind of performance like that. Else, he might be seeing someone else take the spot he is fighting to have permanently.