Mikel Arteta has revealed he’s building Arsenal’s team around Bukayo Saka, and not slotting him in to fill a gap.
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The teenager assisted Alexandre Lacazette to score the only goal of the game in the first leg of the Gunners’ Europa League last-32 win over Olympiakos on Thursday.
Saka’s strong performance came just days after he was named man of the match in the Gunners’ 4-0 win over Newcastle.
The youngster was introduced to Arsenal’s first team as a left-back, filling in in place of the injured Kieran Tierney.
But Saka has proven himself a threat up top, and Arteta has suggested he’s starting to play the Englishman where he’s most affective, not where he can fit in.
“We try to put him in the position where we can surround him with the right players in the right areas,” said Arteta after Arsenal’s win over Olympiakos.
“He’s not a full-back. He has a lot of courage to make decisions in the final third… I’m very pleased with his performance.”
On the result itself, the Spaniard added: “It’s a really good result. First of all to win away in Europe but to come to a ground like this and win, credit to the lads.
“We suffered for the first 10 minutes, we gave the ball away too much and couldn’t get any continuity in our play. In the second half, apart from the set pieces, we controlled the game much better.
“We could have put the tie in a better position. We had positions and chances where we’d expect the players to put the ball in the net.
“We’re going game-by-game. There are a lot of things we want to improve. I still see things that mean we can’t control the game and damage the opponent. But we are playing with a lot of commitment. We had three players with cramp, struggling at the end.”