Robin Van Persie questions Mikel Arteta’s decision to remove Arsenal star from FA Cup Final XI


Mikel Arteta left Bukayo Saka outside Arsenal’s FA Cup final starting XI (Photo: Getty)

Robin van Persie has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to let Bukayo Saka out of the starting XI of Arsenal’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.

The all-rounder has had a breakthrough season and recently committed his long-term future to the north London club, ending months of uncertainty by signing a new deal.

Saka has played a full-back, a full-back and in his favorite wing position this quarter, but he will start Saturday’s flagship opportunity on the bench.

Arteta will again use the 3-4-3 formation that helped Arsenal cause an upheaval in last month’s semi-final against Manchester City with Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitlaind-Niles selected at the back and record signing Nicolas Pepe retaining his place in attack.

Commenting on Arteta’s decision, Van Persie told BT Sport: “The last games he hasn’t played which surprises me because he’s playing so well.

“He’s been the outstanding player for the last two months, he was able to play in different positions, he could play on the wing even at full back positions which he did very well, so that surprised that he does not start. ”

Arsenal will be hoping for their 14th FA Cup triumph and more significantly qualify for the Europa League next season after missing out on European Premier League qualification.

“It will be so special,” Arteta said ahead of the game. “Basically, for our players, staff and fans, we know it’s been a tough season so this will be a great way to end it.

“This is the story of this football club – the demands are so high. We have a chance to lift a trophy today, so let’s go and the future will be so much better.

“This is what we have. At least we have the opportunity to play. It’s such an honor to be in this competition and in the final so let’s make the most of it.

Last week they were all putting everything into each workout so it was hard to choose. We need everyone.

MORE: Injured Shkodran Mustafi sends message of good luck to Arsenal teammates ahead of final FA Cup clash with Chelsea

MORE: Dani Ceballos hails Alexandre Lacazette as Arsenal’s de facto No.10 and compares striker to Karim Benzema

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