17-year-old Bukayo Saka joined the Arsenal first team in training ahead of the North London derby, and he was even on the winning team in their practice match.
Saka played his first minutes of the season for the u23s against Everton last week on Friday, but he was then left out of the academy matches for the next couple of games in the build-up to the North London derby this weekend.
Saka joined Gabriel Martinelli in training with the senior side on Saturday, and the youth duo were both on the winning team in their practice match.
— Emi Martínez (@emimartinezz1) August 31, 2019
With Nacho Monreal leaving, it’s very possible Saka takes up the backup left-back spot on the bench for the time being. The youngster has played the position before for England’s youth teams, and occasionally for Arsenal’s as well.
Though his strengths mostly lie further forward, making runs in behind the defence and getting crosses in, the winger’s attributes lend themselves very well to a full-back role at Arsenal as well.
As a left-footed player on the left-hand side, Saka’s perfectly capable of making overlapping runs and getting crosses in. He has the pace to make good recovery runs, though he is a bit on the smaller side.
Obviously, once Kieran Tierney is back this won’t be an issue. Tierney will work his way into the starting lineup, Kolasinac will still be available as an option, and Saka can return to pushing for starts in forward areas.
For now, with youth left-back options Tolaji Bola and Zech Medley both injured, it’s good to have Saka available for any emergencies at the back.