Arteta Reveals the Key “Shift” in Bukayo Saka that Ignited Arsenal’s Incredible Form
Bukayo Saka returns from international duty hoping to continue his outstanding form in order to help Arsenal win the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta believes there has been a mental shift in Bukayo Saka, which has led to his incredible performances this season as Arsenal compete for the Premier League title.
Saka, 21, is in fine form for both club and country, having recently scored and assisted in England’s 2-0 win over Ukraine during the international break. Now that Saka is back at Arsenal for the final ten games of what has already been a personal best season for him, Arteta has revealed what has changed for the Gunners winger.
“First and foremost, there has been a shift in his mentality,” the Arsenal manager, whose team leads the Premier League by eight points, said on Friday ahead of their home game against Leeds. “How much he wants it, what he does every single day, and then obviously the maturity, the recognition of what to do in every situation, his decision making is improving.”
“He is deciding football matches more and more often and he has good team-mates at Arsenal and England and that is an important thing to have when you play in attacking positions.”
Asked if there’s a player in better form than Saka right now, Arteta replied: “I don’t know. We try to assess the players we have. He is in exceptional form, he is full of confidence and physically in the right condition and he is providing to the team exactly what he needs. So he needs to continue to do that.”
The 21-year-consistency old’s is arguably his most impressive quality. It’s difficult to find a purple patch in his red-hot season, and there wasn’t a point where his performance dipped noticeably.
It is unusual for a young player to be so consistent at the elite level, which surprises – and pleases – the Gunners manager. “I think that’s getting better and better, and there are a lot of things he’s doing to keep the consistency,” Arteta continued.
“His habit. Every single day what he does. How he talks to himself. How he allows people to give him advice in the right moment, how he pushes himself, the people around him, they are very important factors for someone to be that consistent every day.”
Arsenal legend Paul Merson recently praised Saka and explained what sets him apart from his contemporaries. “Saka is a big moment player, and he produces at crucial times in big football matches,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Sky Sports.
“He’s not the player that gets a hat-trick against a side bottom of the league or he’s not grabbing the seventh goal in a 7-0 win. At Arsenal, he’s getting the first goal, the equaliser or the winner. He’s getting assists at crucial moments.
“He’s a big occasion player and there are not a lot of them around. There are players that will do a lot of things in games, but they won’t be in the most important part of the game. Saka does do that, however, on a weekly basis.”