Ian Wright explains why Bukayo Saka should start on the bench for Arsenal v Chelsea in FA Cup final


Bukayo Saka has had an exceptional season at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Mikel Arteta should start with experience against Chelsea in the FA Cup final and allow Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah to make an impact on the substitutes bench.

Saka, 18, burst onto the scene in the middle of last season has been among Arsenal’s most notable players this season, racking up three goals and 11 assists in all competitions of the campaign.

The teenager ended months of speculation about his future by putting pen to paper on a new long-term contract earlier this month, with figures like Manchester United and Liverpool closely monitoring the situation in the Emirates.

Academy product Nketiah, 21, has also shone for the Gunners in recent months and lobbied Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe for a place in Arteta’s starting XI since the season restart.

Former Arsenal striker Wright said the young duo have shown they can ‘handle anything’ since entering the first team, but believes Arteta would be wise to start with Lacazette and Pepe backing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the front.

“I think he will probably go with the experience because I think if you start Saka or Eddie – and this is only my opinion – it wouldn’t surprise me if he started Saka because he looks like he can deal with anything and it’s the same with Eddie, they seem like they can probably deal with anything, ”Wright told Arseblog.

But if you start a young player in a final like this and it doesn’t go well and has to be replaced somewhere along the line, it could have some damage with people and how they can judge their character. compared to a great game. .

Wright believes Arteta should go with the experience against Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

“For me, I would probably start them off the bench because even I, as a former player, when I came off the bench for Palace all those years ago, I was so excited to leave the bench and I was an older one. player and you feel that you have nothing to lose.

“You only have things to gain because if you come and make a difference, people will say, ‘He came and he made a difference.’ If you come in and score a goal, people will say, “Great! And you feel brilliant, ready for the next big occasion.

“I think starting out for this one, depending on how Chelsea start because they could fly out of the blocks and really try to blow us up, I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go with it. experience, then he would probably go with Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang.

“We might have Xhaka in there, Ceballos, I don’t know what’s going on with Torreira but I think the guys I mentioned will definitely play. And obviously Mikel is a lot smarter than I am tactically, he might have a plan up his sleeve.

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Wright believes winning the cup final would be an “incredible” achievement for Arsenal, given the club were in disarray before Arteta took over from Unai Emery.

When asked if the opportunity would be ‘reduced’ given that there will be no fans in the stands at Wembley, Wright replied: ‘No, just because we have to accept it for what. ‘he is.

“Of course, an FA Cup final without the supporters and football without the supporters is not real football. We’re just finishing now. It’s not football and I don’t know how I would do it because I need the fans, I need the energy of the fans.

“But for me and what Arsenal has been through since Mikel came in and what we’ve achieved as a team, we look better and more organized and you just have to feel that with the right tools, we will come to a place. where we will be much happier.

“He calmed everyone down at Arsenal with his communication. The owners, the fans, everyone is positive at the moment.

“I think we have to win this game just because of where we are and we have to be in Europe. I hear that contract negotiations are being put on hold just because they want to see what’s going on in this game, so there’s a lot to do.

Chelsea reached their goal, they reached the Champions League and that’s a bit for Frank [Lampard] put silverware on the table and it would be a wonderful season for them.

“But for us and everything we’ve been through with Mikel coming in at Christmas – one of the most difficult times to manage anything, let alone a new manager – and get to where we are at.” in the cup now it will be amazing.

“And fans or no fans, I think Arsenal fans should take that and say they would take that under these circumstances. ”

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