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Sport News: Arsenal’s “angry” SBU saviour

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January 26, 2020 5:36 pm

Sport News: Arsenal's "angry" SBU saviour

Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg praises Bukayo Saka’s performance in the European League match against Liège but admits the youngster was upset before the match.

“He was incredible!”

These words of praise from Arsenal’s interim coach Freddie Ljungberg were directed at youngster Bukayo Saka.

The 18-year-old not only saved Arsenal’s place in the knockout rounds with his goal and assist in the last European League match of the group stage.

Eintracht Frankfurt also had the opportunity to thank Saka, although the evening did not start on a positive note for the talent.

Saka “annoyed”

The Gunners had to be content with a 2-2 draw against Standard Liège, but they did not have much to fear anyway because of their 4-0 win in the first leg.

Arsenal was two goals down, and Liège was dreaming of going into the knockout phase before youngster Saka took the reins. The 18-year-old left-winger prepared Alexandre Lacazette’s goal in the 78th minute before scoring himself four minutes later.

Despite all the joy, interim coach Ljungberg admitted after the game that the left-footer was extremely “angry” about his position to be held. The winger had to act as a defensive midfielder, which was probably not to the liking of the Arsenal’s team.

However, he convinced his coach once again. “He’s a tremendous talent. His last ball is always effective. There is always an end product in his work,” enthused the 42-year-old Swede.

New chance under Ljungberg?

Until last season, the young Englishman was largely unknown.

Saka, who has passed through every youth station in London, first appeared on the football radar when Arsenal centre-forward Alexandre Lacazette had to take an injured break. He took advantage of this opportunity but was sorted out again when ex-coach Unai Emery was forced to fight for his job after a negative series.

Although Saka has only played 12 minutes under Ljungberg in the league, the new coach believes in his protégé. “I believe in these young players, they have managed to make us number one in the group,” Ljungberg said.

And rightly so! The youngster scored two goals and prepared three in his four European League games.

Despite this, Ljungberg cannot give the 18-year-old any guarantee of a place in the league: “I sometimes feel sorry for our young players because many of them have not been loaned out. They don’t have the opportunity to play 90 minutes over a longer period.”

Making amends for the harmony

However, Saka has the backing of the fans who celebrated him vigorously after the Liège game.

The Arsenal Jewel thanked the fans for their support after the game. “Until the next round, 1 goal, 1 assist. Thanks to all the fans who travelled with him,” he wrote on Twitter.

I’m sure he also made amends to the SBU through his performance. Saka’s recovery against Liège also benefited the Frankfurters, who nevertheless finished second in Group F after losing to Vitória Guimaraes.

In a direct duel in mid-September, the Frankfurters felt the bitter taste of Saka’s skills. His goal in the Gunners’ 3-0 win in Frankfurt was one of the decisive factors in Eintracht’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages, and they were left trembling until the last minute.

The Frankfurters are probably more sympathetic to the striker now.

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