Press conference

Arteta – Saka showed courage

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka

With the game about to enter injury time and Chelsea still pushing for an equaliser, Bukayo Saka won and then converted a penalty kick that ensured three much, much needed points at Stamford Bridge.

With regular penalty taker Alexandre Lacazette off the pitch at the time, it wasn’t clear who would take the responsibility from 12 yards at first. And when Saka placed the ball on the spot, he could have been forgiven for thinking back to the last penalty he took – in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley last summer. A kick that ultimately condemned England to defeat against Italy.
“I thought that Gabi was going to take it,” Mikel Arteta said afterwards. “When I saw that Bukayo took it, honestly, my first thing that I thought was back in the summer and what happened.
“But again, I said to you guys, when that happened to Bukayo, that happened for a reason and he learned so much and he matured so much, that’s why he’s having the season that he’s had.
“For him to have to the courage to say ‘I’m going to take it again’ because I’m sure it was in the back of his mind, for me it’s ‘chapeau’ even if he had missed it.”
But this time he didn’t miss, and the goal not only ensured a nerve-free last few minutes, it was the youngster’s 10th Premier League goal of the season, level with Emile Smith Rowe as our leading scorer this campaign.
It’s only the third time in Premier League history a side has had two players aged 21 or under reach double figures for a campaign (after Leeds United in 1999/2000 and Manchester United in 2006/07.

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