How 18-year-old Bukayo Saka outshone club-record signing Nicolas Pepe during Arsenal’s draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford

At 18 years and 25 days old, Bukayo Saka became the youngest man ever to start a Premier League fixture between Manchester United and Arsenal tonight.
And given his performance in the 1-1 draw , you’d never have noticed.
But while the Gunners academy graduate had a night to remember at Old Trafford, £60million summer signing Nicolas Pepe had one to forget.

Saka was not overcome by the occasion
In fact, if asked to determine which player cost that much money and which cost nothing at all, you probably would’ve got it the wrong way round based on tonight’s display.
Saka, the academy graduate, did not look out of his depth in the slightest despite being chucked in at the deep end by Unai Emery.

He was always available, showed purpose on the ball, and caused serious problems for the United back line.
No wonder Jamie Carragher was full of praise for the teenager. He told Sky Sports: ‘’I thought he was really good. I thought he really impressed tonight.

“To come in at 18 as well, he can be really proud of his performance tonight.’’
It was Saka’s quick-thinking which rescued a point for Arsenal after he seized on Axel Tuanzebe’s loose pass and slipped a perfectly-weighted, first-time ball through to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 
cancelled out Scott McTominay’s opener.


Pepe, on the other hand, was comfortably marked out of the game by the inexperienced Tuanzebe, and the Ivorian’s stats make for grim reading.
He gave the ball away a staggering 17 times before he was eventually hauled off on 74 minutes. That’s about once every four minutes, on average.
Many have been quick to point out that Pepe needs time to adapt, but Saka isn’t exactly brimming with Premier League experience. Neither is Mason Mount. And they didn’t cost £60million.
As Gary Neville pointed out on commentary, you expect to see glimpses of quality, at the very least, for that money.
While it’s far too early to make conclusive judgements on Pepe, one thing’s for sure: Arsenal’s record signing was totally outshone by an 18-year-old on their biggest night of the season so far.



Post a Comment

0 Comments