Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta deserves major credit for the flourishing form of Bukayo Saka, believes Jamie Redknapp. Saka scored his first Premier League goal against Wolves on Saturday evening.
The Gunners’ academy graduate, making his 34th first-team appearance of the season, scored his fourth goal of the season but his first in England’s top flight.
The 18-year-old expertly half-volleyed a tricky deflected cross beyond Rui Patricio to put the north London side 1-0 up.
Saka was deployed in a wide-right role against Wolves and played over 75 minutes for the fourth time of Arsenal’s five games since the restart, having sat out of the win over Norwich.
The teenager has however spent time in a role on the left flank as well as having filled in for Kieran Tierney at left-back for 15 league and cup matches.
And Redknapp thinks Saka is finding life in the Premier League “easy” with it expected the Ealing-born forward will be a huge player for Arteta over the coming years, having signed a new long-term contract just this week.
“It’s an unusual finish,” Redknapp said of Saka’s goal. “It was a really effective finish but it was unusual, he sort of guides it in, spins it into the corner.
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“Normally on your favoured foot you get a slightly different technique but it’s so effective and it really works.
“I think you’ve got to credit the manager because we’ve seen him play as a left winger, as a left back, he’s now playing on the right-hand side and he’s having such an impact on this Arsenal side.
“New contract, he must be thinking this Premier League lark is easy!”
Former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole later said of Saka: “Watching the interview, you know he [Saka] feels that Arsenal is his home. He’s a young kid.
“The group they’ve got around him, with extra young players, is making him feel very welcome and at home.
“I think Arsenal fans are buzzing that he’s signed and he definitely looks one for the future, for sure.”
Cole was meanwhile also impressed with fellow youngster Eddie Nketiah, who had a first-half chance pushed on to the post by Patricio.
The 21-year-old was again trusted to lead the line over Alexandre Lacazette, who came from the bench to double Arsenal’s lead late on and move them within three points of Wolves and six points of Manchester United.
Cole said: “It was a great strike and a quality save. I’ve been impressed with him.
“I just think when Aubameyang doesn’t play up front as that lone striker, I think Eddie, he’s so busy, he’s not given Wolves’ centre-backs an opportunity to play out.
“He’s always on the front foot, ready to press, getting the team up with high and he’s got an eye for goal.
“He maybe could have gone across the goal but for a young boy to have that confidence to take strikes, one, two touch…
And Redknapp added: “Martin Tyler said it in commentary, he’s hit it early and the keeper doesn’t have chance to set himself, he gets lucky he gets his big toe on it otherwise that is definitely nestling in the bottom corner.
“I like Nketiah, he’s got determination, works hard, does a really good job for the team.
“I’ve always said Aubameyang playing central seems to work better.
“But I get why he plays him there, Arteta, because he does such a good job defensively as well when they haven’t got the ball.”
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