Arsenal winger’s explosive trait leaves Rio Ferdinand floored, as Man Utd attackers told to watch and learn
Rio Ferdinand is hugely impressed with one particular trait of Bukayo Saka, and bemoaned the fact more Man Utd attackers don’t copy the Arsenal ace.
There are very few Arsenal players who aren’t catching the eye at present. William Saliba’s full body of work has been extraordinary since making his Gunners debut in gameweek one. His performance levels dipped last time out against Leeds, though that very much looks an outlier to what has otherwise been a remarkable campaign so far.
In midfield, Granit Xhaka is in the form of his life and is relishing the chances he’s getting to join the attack.
Picking a stand-out from the front four is near-impossible, though only because they’ve all shone so brightly.
A three of Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka behind Gabriel Jesus is an attacking corps with a little bit of everything. Thus far, no Premier League defence has been able to keep a clean sheet against the Gunners this season.
Now, speaking on the Vibe with Five podcast, Man Utd legend, Rio Ferdinand, showered Bukayo Saka with lofty praise.
Saka is a contender to start for England on the right wing in Qatar. If Ferdinand was in Gareth Southgate’s shoes, Saka would get the nod.
Explaining why, Ferdinand pointed to Saka’s explosive ability to face up defenders are breeze past like they’re not there.
Bukayo Saka “has no fear”
“In this form you can’t look past Saka on that right wing spot,” said Ferdinand. “I think in an England shirt he does as well.
“He’s a winger who when he gets it, I’ve watched him a couple of times live this year as well, his first instinct and intention is to go past you.
“We spoke to Nani and he told us that was his intention. As soon as he got the ball one vs one, he was looking to beat the full-back.
“I love that about [Saka], he’s got no fear. He’s playing with a bit more maturity every time I see him.”
Ferdinand miffed at Man Utd stars
Many of Man Utd’s forwards have started the season in fine form too.
Jadon Sancho has three goals to his name, while Marcus Rashford is back in England contention after notching eight goal contributions from 12 appearances.
Antony, meanwhile, scored in each of his first three league matches as a Red Devil.
However, the goals have dried up over the last two matches with wasteful finishing blighting their efforts. But for an injury time winner from Scott McTominay against Omonia Nicosia, they’d have drawn the last two matches 0-0.
Referencing why Manchester United have begun to struggle to score, Ferdinand pointed to a lack of cutting edge and willingness to take people on – as Saka does – in the wide areas.
“We don’t seem to have the imagination in those areas,” continued Ferdinand. “Get him [the winger] in a one on one situation, either with a good ball from [Paul] Scholes or [Michael] Carrick etc, get them one versus one and do your thing.
“At the moment we get in those positions and unfortunately for us, our wide players are turning away from that, they’re not killing full-backs, they’re not skinning them.
“The best teams wait for that moment in a game. You might only get two or three of those moments where they stand the full-back up.
“Saka does it at the moment as well as anyone in the league, and say ‘right I’m going to ghost you.’
“At the moment our wide players aren’t doing that.”
QUIZ: Can you name Arsenal’s XI when Thierry Henry became their record scorer?