3 reasons for Bukayo Saka’s drop in form
Since the international break, Bukayo Saka has scored and assisted just once, both coming against Southampton, which has led to concerns about his form.
However, Saka’s drop-off hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as people think. His overall game is still excellent, but the dry-up of contributions in the final third have made people believe his performances have completely fallen off.
His lack of goals and assists has been a concern, given that he had a similar end to last season, but there are very good reasons for that, that go beyond him not being able to last a season.
3 reasons why Saka seems to have dropped off
1. The Arsenal right
William Saliba’s injury has been widely spoken about, but Takehiro Tomiyasu suffered an injury in the same game which ruled him out for the season, and the timing has had a catastrophic effect on Arsenal’s season.
Tomiyasu had played 21 league games before the injury and was regularly used in the last 20 minutes of games to give Ben White a breather and sure up the defence.
Since then, White has had to play more minutes and hasn’t looked as fresh, which has impacted his link-up with Saka, and the loss of Saliba has significantly reduced the speed at which the ball is played out from the back.
🗣️ “I learned this season when you play against [Bukayo] Saka, Vinícius [Júnior], these type of wingers, [Gabriel] Martinelli or [Mohamed] Salah or [Sadio] Mané in the past that you need proper defenders to win duels 1 against 1.”
Pep Guardiola on changing his defensive system pic.twitter.com/t2p0aH509m
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 22, 2023
Thomas Partey has also endured a massive drop-off, and those bypassing whipped passes we saw to Saka all season have stopped. Overall, the build-up on that side has become a lot more mechanical.
With such a refined system, the loss of players and the reduction of energy plays a significant role in the creative side of the game, and Saka has suffered as a result.
Continued on the next slide…