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So talented: Watch Bukayo Saka brilliant performer in Gunners 3-1 win over Chelsea



Bukayo Saka has on fired for Arsenal this season, and even when the Gunners looked completely out of sorts and lost at sea, he remained a standout figure in the side. Of course, his good displays have often been far from enough to save the Gunners from defeat.

But the academy graduate had clearly decided that enough was enough on Boxing Day, and, tired of being the bright spark on damp evenings, he made sure the night would be full of fireworks.

The 19-year-old England international picked up the Man of the Match award in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over local rival Chelsea, stopping the rot and hopefully putting an end to the Gunners’ misery.

Saka exemplified everything that under-fire coach Mikel Arteta demands from his team: technique, tempo, fight and a desire to leave everything on the pitch at the end of 90 minutes.

The versatile starlet drifted around the final third of the pitch, running in behind the Chelsea defence or dropping in deeper to collect and turn at a backtracking back-line. His frightening pace and direct approach completely caught the Blues off guard, and he was relentless in his attempts to rip Frank Lampard’s men to bits.

It was his speed and vertical trajectory that led to the awarding of the free-kick for the second goal, as the Blues defence saw no other alternative than to hack him to the ground as he bore down on the penalty area.

Granit Xhaka did the rest. Mikel Arteta will have told his team of starlets to go back out and kill the game in the second half, so as to snuff out any ambitions the Blues held of a comeback. Bukayo Saka did exactly that, hitting a stunning third goal – although some may question just how intentional it was.

He picked up the ball on the right side of the penalty area, glanced up and looked to cross into the box. However, his delivery flew towards the far post, cannoning off the woodwork and beyond a bamboozled goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. It screamed of a fluke, but Bukayo Saka wasn’t having it.

‘I saw him off his line so I thought I could chip him. [Really?] Yeah!’ Saka said after the match.

We’ll believe you this time, Bukayo Saka.

But Bukayo Saka demonstrated a maturity beyond his 19 years both on and off the field, explaining how this young core of players, including the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe, who started in Arsenal’s attack, “grew up with each other” and “have the passion for this club.”

‘We feel that we are a good team who have been unlucky with results and red cards but this is a big one for our confidence. It’s been tricky, tough, but we have come out of it and we are trying our best.

‘We grew up with each other, the young players all want to play and have the passion for this club. We want to make the fans happy.’

Those words will be music to the ears of Arsenal fan, who must be falling out of love extremely quickly with this misfiring group of superstars.

It’s only a small step in the right direction for the north Londoner, but Boxing Day’s convincing win over Chelsea is a sign of their miserable run reaching an end, and the beginning of a new era, with a few homegrown starlets at the front and centre of their achievements.

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