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Arteta calls on referees and Saka’s teammates to help him out

  • Sports

By Dan Critchlow

LONDON, ENGLAND: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal looks on before taking a penalty during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on October 09, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

In recent Arsenal matches, a frustrating theme has been the way referees fail to call fouls on Bukayo Saka.

After Robert Jones’ infamous refereeing performance where he booked Saka for being tripped, there was another trip waved away in the PSV match, and Saka was then kicked off the pitch against Nottingham Forest.

Returning to the starting lineup against Chelsea, Saka once again failed to get free kicks for clear fouls by Marc Cucurella. The winger eventually lashed out and picked up a yellow for a foul of his own.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s final club game before the international break, Arteta discussed the issue of Saka’s treatment by officials.

“The referees have the duties to deal with that,” Arteta said.

“The better the players become, the bigger target they become because people try and find ways to stop him. That is why football has very clear rules, what you can do and what you cannot do, and that is the referees’ job.”

Arsenal's English midfielder Bukayo Saka speaks to Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (R) as he is treated by a member of the medical staff after picking up an injury during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka speaks to Gabriel Jesus (R) as he is treated by a member of the medical staff after picking up an injury during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Arteta suggested it’s not entirely on the referees, however. The manager also believes Saka’s teammates can help him out with the way they give the winger the ball.

“We can do (more),” Arteta said. “Sometimes the type of ball we give him and when we give him certain balls (could be better).

“You can see at a certain point it becomes about the timing, the decision-making, in the space you have generated before that action, and the understanding and knowledge of what is going to happen before it happens.”

There’s certainly some truth to that. Players are most likely to dive into challenges when it looks like the ball is there to be won, so it helps to play passes that are easier for Saka to control.

But the rest is up to the officials. When the Arsenal youngster is repeatedly fouled without punishment, opponents are only encouraged to keep doing the same thing.

Source: Daily Cannon.