Arsenal Watch: Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka earned his first senior start for Arsenal as the Gunners hosted Qarabag in their final fixture of the Europa League group stages. The 17-year-old has been rather impressive for both the u21s and u23s, this season, and likely earned his spot following the rumoured injury to another Arsenal youngster – Emile Smith-Rowe.

Interestingly, tomorrow will be three months to the day in which Saka signed his first professional contract with the London club. Today, he produced a very promising performance as he became the first player to start for Arsenal who was born in the 21st century.

Going into the game, Unai Emery decided to alter the formation for the Europa League clash, switching from a rotating 3-4-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1 system. Initially, Saka was positioned on the left flank in attack and was joined by Eddie Nketiah on the opposing flank, Mesut Ozil down the middle, and Alexandre Lacazette leading the line, up front.

The young winger experienced his first proper bit of action just before ten minutes as he found the ball on his right foot following a corner. The 17-year-old decided to cut inside from the right flank onto his left foot but his curling shot was saved by Qarabag’s goalkeeper, Vagner da Silva.

With Arsenal focusing a majority of their attack down the right flank, Saka had a bit of a quiet game in the first half. However, that’s not to say he had a bad half. His movement off the ball was very good and he always looked like he wanted to increase the tempo in what was a pretty dull half of football.

Additionally, considering how confident he looked on the ball, I would have liked to have seen how he’d fare playing on the right flank in comparison to the left. Saka would have got a lot more opportunities on the ball on the right, and he looks like the type of player that loves to cut inside onto his more confident left foot. However, at the same time, it’s worth mentioning that Eddie Nketiah produced a great performance on this flank.

In the second half, Saka had a lot more opportunities on the ball to showcase his ability and he definitely grew in confidence. There were many occasions in the second half where he would use his bursts of energy to beat his man and try to create an opportunity.

This came into fruition in the 75th minute in what was undoubtedly the 17-year-old’s best play of the game. Saka did very well to beat his man on the left and the weight of his cross into the box was perfect for Nketiah to connect his head too. It’s a shame the latter was a fraction offside because he really deserved that goal while Saka was very unlucky to not register his first senior assist for the club.

In regards to his end product, there’s definitely room for improvement but there are positive signs there. Personally, I think his biggest error is where he decided to place his decisive shot at around the 85th minute. The winger’s movement was outstanding during Arsenal’s counter-attack and he did well to meet Ainsley Maitland-Niles cross. But, he should have done a lot better with his opportunity when he was one-on-one with the keeper to become one of Arsenal’s youngest ever scorers in Europe.

Taking into consideration the fact that Arsenal lacks a natural winger, it felt like a complete breath of fresh air watching Bukayo Saka versus Qarabag, tonight. The 17-year-old produced a very promising performance and in the end was arguably one of Arsenal’s best players on the night. It’s games like these where Saka will learn from his errors, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for him.

My verdict – 8.5/10

How I Voted In The 2018 Game Awards.

* The following post will not contain spoilers. Don’t worry.

It’s a cliché statement, but, 2018 has been a fantastic year for the gaming industry. As expected, the year has seen a number of phenomenal games enter the shelves such as Celeste and Red Dead Redemption. Nintendo’s latest console, the Nintendo Switch, has done superbly in comparison to its predecessor, the WiiU, while the console juggernauts, Sony and Microsoft, have made small steps towards the potential for cross-play in future.

Recently, The Game Awards announced their latest batch of categories and nominations for their annual awards show. The following will be me talking through who I voted for in each respective category. As expected, I haven’t been able to play every game that has been released in 2018, so some categories have been skipped while other beloved and popular games may not feature. They’re my personal votes after all! Continue reading “How I Voted In The 2018 Game Awards.”

Presenter Jack King: “I never really thought I’d be in a job where I could have such a positive influence on other people.”

In an exclusive interview, the writer and presenter opens up about his experiences ever since he joined the world of YouTube.

Jack King is a writer and presenter who launched a wrestling-related YouTube channel, Cultaholic, approximately one year ago with his friends in Newcastle, England.

While his size and appearance doesn’t quite match the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena, Jack has successfully built a large following in the wrestling industry through his work with Cultaholic. His Twitter account currently has more than 80,000 followers whilst his co-owned YouTube channel is close to reaching 400,000 subscribers.

Continue reading “Presenter Jack King: “I never really thought I’d be in a job where I could have such a positive influence on other people.””