Arsenal: Bukayo Saka already elite when it matters the most

Arsenal, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images) /

Bukayo Saka started off terribly in Arsenal’s match against Wolverhampton, but when the opportunity presented itself, he did what the elite do.

I’ll be honest, I was not thrilled when Nicolas Pepe was left out of the team, even if it was Bukayo Saka starting in his stead. When I found out it was because Pepe’s wife was having a child, I questioned why she had to have it today. I’m an Arsenal fan, don’t blame me.

My vindictive state got even worse as Bukayo Saka continued to forfeit possession and play awful passes through the first 40ish minutes. Of course, I knew what he was capable of, but this was shaping up to be a match to forget.

Then, when the opportunity came, he read the play perfectly and finished even more so. Just a sweet, sweeping left-footed finish that Rui Patricio had no chance to save. You couldn’t have done any better.

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Now, it’s time to gush. One thing I always say sets Aubameyang apart from your typical striker, even your typical good striker, is that when he’s having a bad game, he still doesn’t miss the chance to score a goal.

Bukayo Saka did the same thing. He was playing horribly, he had to be aware of that, but when the opportunity fell to him, like Aubameyang, he was never going to miss it. He took it perfectly and put it into the net to give his side the lead.

I don’t mean to keep dragging Alexandre Lacazette through the mud, but this is the kind of thing that, in my humble opinion, keeps him from being considered elite. How many chances has he squandered since his poor form began? His most recent bout of poor form, I should say.

At just 18-years-old, Saka has set himself apart all season, but each time he takes the pitch, we manage to see more positive traits developing. The match as a whole was 100% forgettable, but in that complete irrelevance, he scored the goal that gave his side the edge. And it’s not like it was that easy of a goal to take.

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When Saka came off in the second half, nothing was lost. He hadn’t had a good game. But none of that matters. What matters is what he gave his side when it mattered most. And let me go ahead and say this again—that’s what separates the elite.