Bodø/Glimt v Arsenal: Match in pictures
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Martin Keown has suggested Arsenal have their own Mohamed Salah emerging in Bukayo Saka, whose fourth goal of the season inspired the Gunners to victory against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night. Arsenal won 1-0 away in Norway thanks to Saka’s deflected first-half strike.
The 21-year-old became the second-youngest Arsenal player ever after Nicolas Anelka to 20 Premier League goals by scoring twice against Salah’s Liverpool on Sunday. And after his strike in Europe, he’s up to four goals and four assists in 12 games this term.
That’s after the Arsenal academy graduate contributed 12 goals and seven assists in 43 matches across all competitions last season. He has developed into one of the most exciting young forwards on the continent and will hope to have a say again versus Leeds United at Elland Road this Sunday.
And Keown has compared the right-sided winger to Liverpool hero Salah, who fired a hat-trick in a Champions League win over Rangers on Wednesday night to take himself to 231 direct goal contributions in 267 appearances. The BT Sport pundit has suggested Saka can become similarly as deadly.
Discussing the England international, Keown said: “He’s top drawer. He’s come through the academy and he’s had his foot on every rung of the ladder. He’s now showing the way for the next generation. Tonight he was the difference with that little bit of class he has. He’s a left-footed right winger, it’s really difficult to defend when he comes inside with that change of pace.
“I know he gets a little bit lucky there but that’s quite emphatic, you see Salah doing that for Liverpool. He’s in that mould now, starting to come off the line a bit more and come more central. Him and Martinelli are really going through the gears in Arsenal jerseys.”
Asked if Saka would get into the Invincibles team Keown famously played in, the former centre-back added: “He’d be close. That was a little bit special. There’s some trophies to win first! But when you look at it, [Nicolas] Pepe was brought to block his path. Raul Sanllehi brought him in and obviously wasn’t looking at the youth team at that point.
“Now the club is together and they know the talents they’ve got emerging through the ranks. It’s a conveyor belt. It’s like a soccer factory of young players coming through the club. Saka shows you why, it seems to mean much more for them. On a difficult night on an astro turf pitch, he’s still going to deliver.”
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole added: “You have to understand how young he is as well. Arsenal have got such a gem here. He’s already so experienced and one of the leaders of the team on the pitch. He takes responsibility.
“I love that guy, he’s taking the ball on the back foot and teasing the full-back out. Once he sees space, he’s got the speed to exploit it. He’s a fantastic footballer and one that Arsenal want to tie down to build this new great side that seems to be emerging.
“The beauty with him is, you could use him on the right, on the left of a front three, as a 10, as a left wing-back, right wing-back, he’s just a fantastic footballer. The young players at Arsenal have all got this energy and they kept that going. It’s important momentum.”
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