Arsenal fans won’t forgive Gareth Southgate for Bukayo Saka treatment

  • England are through to the EURO 2024 quarterfinal
  • They beat Slovakia in dramatic fashion
  • Arsenal fans are unhappy with Bukayo Saka’s change
England v Slovenia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024
England v Slovenia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024 / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

Bukayo Saka receives plenty of protection from the England international team, which is great to see from an Arsenal perspective. Of course, he is wrongly villified by the English media but it is within their nature to be at their own detriment by hounding out their best players every time they play. Gareth Southgate, on the other hand, has been nothing but supportive of Bukayo Saka.

The Hale End graduate is doing his country proud yet again. So far, England have played four EURO 2024 games (three group games, one knockout game), with Bukayo Saka starting in every single one of them. In the three group stage matches, Saka was subbed off towards the end of the match but last night against Slovakia, he simply couldn't be subbed off.

Arsenal fans won’t forgive Gareth Southgate for Bukayo Saka treatment

This is because Bukayo Saka stepped up to fill in a position of need and it's a position which will bring back plenty of memories to Arsenal fans. Yep, Saka rolled back the years to when he first broke through at Arsenal, by playing left-back for England last night.

Admittedly, Saka did not start at left-back but he soon converted to the position after Kieran Trippier became injured and had to be ejected from the match. Thankfully, Saka had experience to cover this position but it was a move which was unfortunately deemed as negative by the Arsenal supporters.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter) to voice their discontent, Arsenal fans were more critical of Gareth Southgate, rather than Bukayo Saka. This is because Saka was just following orders and if anything, he still had more of an impact from an attacking perspective at left-back than Cole Palmer did at right-wing, something which will please Arsenal fans.

Here are some of the best reactions on X...

The decision was unfortunately brewing for some time before the match. It is known that England had under-sold themselves at left-back, hence why they resorted to starting Kieran Trippier there for the last four games, who will admit first-hand that his strongest position is on the right side of the defence.

Ian Wright had originally suggested playing Bukayo Saka at left-back, which could be what inspired the inspiration for Gareth Southgate. While it was a good decision given the context of the match, both Arsenal and England fans should hope that Southgate doesn't make a habit out of this.

After all, Saka's strongest position is at right-wing and essentially, Southgate would be weakening that position to fix another.


What do you make of the decision to play Bukayo Saka at left-back?