Bukayo Saka took the captain’s armband in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the weekend, and Mikel Arteta says it’s important for young players to be in leadership roles.
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka has done just about everything so far in his Arsenal career, but could we be about to see something else added to his resume?
Against Chelsea, Saka was handed the captaincy armband after Martin Odegaard was substituted in what is a sure sign of Mikel Arteta’s faith in his young star to be a leader on the pitch.
For Arteta, having Saka and other young players as part of the leadership group is important as they get to see all of the workings behind the scenes.
"“I think is really important for them because the role that they have in our way of playing, in our team and in our club has to be mirrored with the leadership level that they should have around the team to make it grow,” Arteta said via arsenal.com.“I think it’s been a perfect environment; we have a really good mixture of players, teams, and experiences in that group and it’s going to be a really valuable time to spend with those guys to understand what happens behind the scenes as well.”"
With Arsenal’s attention now turning to Sevilla in the Champions League, Arteta will be delving into his bag of tricks to get his team back on the winner’s list after the 2-1 defeat to Lens last time out.
Coming off the 2-2 draw against Chelsea that saw Arsenal look a little disjointed in the first half before correcting things in the second half, that kind of performance against Sevilla will see the Gunners drop their second consecutive match in the competition.
And Arteta knows what Sevilla is capable of and has urged his team to manage the difficult moments that will undoubtedly come during the game.
"“The opponents are really good and to win away from home is always difficult, but to win away from home in Europe, you see a shift in all the top teams that they are not the same results,” Arteta said. “Margins become critical and the emotional state of the team in certain moments goes through difficult ones, so that’s absolutely key.”"
With Arsenal sitting second in the group behind Lens and just a point above Sevilla, getting a win is crucial to gain momentum in the competition.
And when those tough moments do come, Arteta will be relying on his on-field leaders to take charge of the situation, and it might be Saka who puts the team on his back and wills them to victory.