Bukayo Saka says Mikel Arteta has found right blend of youth and experience

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gives Bukayo Saka of Arsenal a high five during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on 4 July 2020.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Bukayo Saka believes Arsenal manager Mikel
has struck the right balance between youth and experience.

Arteta has not been afraid to back his
young talent over more established names and he did so once again in Sunday’s
4-2 Premier League win over Leeds.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s
hat-trick grabbed the headlines with Hector Bellerin also on the scoresheet at
the Emirates Stadium before the visitors rallied and halved the deficit through
Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa.

But there were good performances from
Arsenal’s precocious talents as Saka and Emile Smith Rowe both claimed assists
and full debutant Martin Odegaard looked good at times.

The likes of club-record signing Nicolas
Pepe, summer recruit Willian and striker Alexandre Lacazette were only among
the substitutes as Saka hailed Arteta for keeping faith with the less
experienced members of his squad.

“It’s perfect,” the England international
replied when asked about Arteta picking young players alongside the likes of
Aubameyang and David Luiz.

“Because as a young player you get
experience around you and people to guide you when things aren’t going well.

“They can give you confidence, instructions
and things like that. I just feel like he (Arteta) has got the right balance
for us at the moment.”

Aubameyang’s first-ever Premier League
hat-trick came on his return to the side, having not started any of the
previous five games after leaving Arsenal’s Covid secure bubble to visit his
ill mother.

“He is amazing, I can’t speak highly enough
of him,” Saka said of the striker.

“He showed everyone how much quality he
has, when he gets a chance, he is going to put it away.

“He can do everything, so we are so happy
to have him and it’s good that he got a hat-trick for his confidence. We have a
big week ahead and we hope he can score some more goals for us.

“The last two games we lost, but I thought
we were quite unlucky. So, to get this one over the line, get the win, it sets
us up for quite a tough week and gives us a lot of confidence going into the

Leeds threatened a memorable comeback after
Struijk and Costa made their mark, the latter one of two substitutes made by
manager Marcelo Bielsa at half-time.

Speaking after the game Bielsa bemoaned a
poor first half but felt his side had the better of the game after the

Struijk, whose powerful header brought his
first goal for the club, revealed Bielsa had called for more energy during his
halftime team talk.

“We didn’t bring the energy we always
bring, so it’s a bit disappointing we didn’t do that,” he said.

“The majority of what was said was to bring
the energy back, then the football will come.

“It’s such a difference when we do that,
our football is so much better.

“It means a lot to me to score my first
goal but it’s just disappointing that we lost the game.”

– TEAMtalk media

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