The intelligence and intensity of Arsenal’s nineteen-year-old versatile Hale End graduate, Bukayo Saka, has been a beauty to behold all through the past one and a half years, and Saka particularly has been the brightest player for the Gunners as they bring the calendar year to a close on a positive note, beating Brighton and Hove Albion away by a solitary Alexander Lacazette goal assisted by the Nigerian British teenage sensation just 21 seconds after the French striker was brought on on the 65th minute. The tenacity of Bukayo’s run, the intensity of his drive, and the beauty of his cross, was unbelievably sensational, and of course Lacazette kept his cool to score and give under fire Mikel Arteta a huge relief.
Coming on the back of a man-of-the-match display at the Emirates Stadium against biggest London rivals, Chelsea FC, Bukayo was the brightest spark in a rather drab early display at Brighton last night. He and the other youth sensations, Rob Holding, Emile Smith-Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli, were once again relied upon by coach Arteta as injuries to David Luiz, Willian Borgess, and poor form of Pepe, meant the Hale End youngsters have another chance to start another league match. Although captain of the team, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, showed little urgency in the first half, the youngsters did not disappoint.
Emile’s brilliance in the number 10 role was a joy to watch. His quick touches and energy to fight for every ball, was refreshing.
Lacazette was rested in favour of Aubameyang, but the captain struggled to keep up with the intensity that the game required.
Brighton were no pushover. Yves Bissouma was a calm threat in the midfield, while Bernardo, Alireza Jahabakhsh and later Solly March, were a handful for the Gunners’ defence.
Regardless, the Arteta side held on to earn their first back-to-back victories since September, and move to thirteenth on the Premier League table.
There was an injury scare for the Gunners towards the 80th minute when Saka was inadvertently stamped on the foot while there was a goalmouth struggle as Brighton pressed for an equaliser. But after two minutes of treatment, he hubbled out of the field, and returned to continue the game. But Arteta took him off as a precaution, introducing Spanish youngster Dani Ceballos as a replacement.
Pictures credit: Arsenal Football Club
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