Arsenal will be aiming to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
The Gunners, who progressed to the last-16 of the UEFA Europa League in midweek, staging an heroic comeback against Benfica, winning 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate, have lost three of their last four Premier League outings.
Before being beaten 1-0 by Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday, the Gunners suffered back-to-back away defeats at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa, meaning the Gunners may not be feeling so confident ahead of another trip to the Midlands.
As well as that, manager Mikel Arteta may be forced into making tweaks to his team in places after facing Benfica in Greece only on Thursday and then facing a long trip back to London.
But one man who is surely destined to be named in Arteta’s starting line-up is in-form winger Bukayo Saka. The England international, who has been the Gunners’ star man this term, was key in the win over Benfica, setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on two occasions for the Gabon international to score a brace.
With that in mind, Arteta, who watched his side suffer a 1-0 defeat to the Foxes in the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium back in October, is sure to be delighted with Saka, with the talented youngster delivering impressive performance after impressive performance.
Following the win in Athens, Arteta heaped praise on Saka’s shoulders, admitting that he had produced the goods again when feeling fatigued.
Arteta said: “It is and as well because he’s really fatigued. He’s played a lot of minutes. He hasn’t had much rest.
“We asked him to go again and produce these moments and the boy’s done it against a really difficult formation, the way they were, so deep with the really small spaces, but he’s found a way to do it again.”
With Arteta continuing to wax lyrical about Saka, the duo’s relationship is bound to get stronger and stronger, with the latter likely to react positively to continuous praise.
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Interestingly, there was a moment between the pair during Saturday’s training session at London Colney when they were pictured having a joke and a laugh together.
It is unclear what it was all about, but it suggests they have may have been involved in an exchange of banter, a joke was shared or they were still buoyed by the heroics against Benfica.
As outlined above, it is, of course, impossible to tell from these still images what was said, but it ended with Arteta pushing Saka away and both of them smiling, almost as though they were young team-mates and not manager and player.
As expected, this interaction was spotted by several Arsenal fans and sparked a response on social media.
This season, Saka has been nothing short of outstanding for the Gunners, earning no shortage of appreciation from Arteta, fellow team-mates, the fans, pundits and former players.
Following his showing against Benfica, former Gunners skipper Cesc Fabregas became the latest figure to heap praise on the versatile youngster’s shoulders.
Fabregas said: “Saka is such a good player. Such a maturity and intelligence for his age. Game changer.”