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Bukayo Saka reveals how he deals with the barrage of fouls he faces

Bukayo Saka reveals that he finds it natural to chuckle at players who attempt to “smash” him, provided he can avoid the contact himself.

The Arsenal winger, currently in excellent form, ranks among the most fouled players in the Premier League, prompting calls from manager Mikel Arteta for better protection for Saka from referees.

With 16 goals and 12 assists across all competitions this season, the 22-year-old has been crucial for the Gunners, particularly in the Premier League where he has netted seven goals in five games. His impressive performances have coincided with Arsenal’s resurgence in the title race, putting them firmly in contention alongside Liverpool and Manchester City.

In an interview with beIN SPORTS, Saka discusses his ability to maintain composure despite facing persistent fouling, acknowledging that he now comprehends why defenders target him and opting to confront them on the field.

“When I go on the pitch I’m there to have fun and to enjoy,” he said. “I would say I learned a lot over the last few seasons, when I started to get more and more tackles and defenders have started to enjoy more and more kicking me, I spoke to a few defenders and now I understand it.

“So for me, when I see a defender trying to smash me, as long as he doesn’t get me, I’m laughing or I’m smiling because I take it as a compliment.

“I don’t think a defender would be calling for help or a defender would want to smash me if he didn’t see me as a threat. So, for me, if he tries to smash me and I get away with it, I just laugh and just get on with the game, because I guess it’s part of it.

“I’m not going to say names because I feel like those conversations should stay between me and them, but I’ve had a few conversations with opposition, even sometimes the players here, when I ask, ‘why are you guys like this? Why do you just want to smash players?’

“They just explain to me so I understand and once I understand it’s easy for me to to get on with it more. As long as no one tackles me really, really badly [it’s okay] because obviously I don’t want to be injured or I don’t want to be playing through pain, I don’t think anyone wants that.”

Arsenal Starboy Bukayo Saka admitted that defenders are simply trying to do their job.

“Obviously, the defender is only trying to do his job and protect his goal, and I’m only trying to do my job and get towards his goal. So we’re all just trying to do our best for the team. I just try and keep my temper, because I know when I do lose my head, I don’t play well. I hope I haven’t given a secret to the opposition there.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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