Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jermaine Jenas waxed lyrical about the performance of versatile Arsenal star Bukayo Saka following the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday evening at the Emirates Stadium.
Following their midweek UEFA Europa League exit at the hands of Spanish giants Villarreal, Arsenal got back to winning ways in comfortable fashion, as goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Willian, who finally ended his wait for his first goal in a Gunners shirt, secured a second successive Premier League win, relegating West Brom in the process.
In truth, it was always a contest that Arsenal were likely to win, with the Baggies having been staring relegation in the face for several weeks.
Arsenal, though, may not have found the victory so easy to come by had it not been the performance of England international Saka.
Starting at left-back in the absence of Granit Xhaka, and Kieran Tierney left on the bench, Saka was nothing short of outstanding, giving the Baggies a torrid time all evening long, as he claimed the assist for Smith Rowe’s opener and continued to torment them throughout the contest.
His performance earned rave reviews from former Spurs man Jenas after the game, with the Match of the Day pundit labelling him as Arsenal’s “leader” and “most important player.”
Jenas told BBC Sport’s Match of the Day: “I had never seen anything like it down one side.
“Saka… I cannot speak highly enough of this player, I really can’t. All season he has been the shining light for Arsenal and probably the only one.
“Because he is so young, a lot has been asked of him at times; he has played right-wing, left-wing, in behind the front. Today [against WBA] his manager asked him to play at left-back and he was still the best player on the pitch from left-back.
“This is the one player that Arteta can always rely on in their biggest moments. He did it continuously today.
“West Brom offered him this left-hand side freely, crossing cross after cross until, eventually, he must be thinking ‘you cannot give me too many chances because I will pick out a man,’ which he does with a lovely ball to Emile Smith Rowe, who just sticks it away nicely.
“He just ghosted into these positions on a regular basis and I was beginning to think ‘what are West Brom thinking?’ Someone has to pick him up, or someone has to say ‘listen, I will stick on Saka and I will have to man-to-man mark him.’
Do you want all the latest news from around Arsenal Football Club straight to your email inbox?
Of course you do.
By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from the Emirates Stadium.
And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak before anyone else.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Arsenal box to subscribe for our Gunners newsletter.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
“In what has been a shocker of a season for Arsenal, and Mikel Arteta, there has been some young players that can hold their heads up high and really look forward to next season.
“He is the leader and the most important player in that Arsenal team, in my opinion.”
Jenas is not wrong, Saka has been nothing short of outstanding for the Gunners this term in what has been a season to forget.
Playing across a variety of positions, the 19-year-old has racked up 43 appearances, scoring seven goals and claiming ten assists.