Bukayo Saka: Trophies are coming from Premier League’s youngest squad

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Arsenal s Bukayo Saka is interviewed after the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 26, 2021. Copyright: Nick Potts
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Arsenal s Bukayo Saka is interviewed after the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 26, 2021. Copyright: Nick Potts

Bukayo Saka believes Arsenal have the quality to win trophies, even if they have a relatively young squad this season.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Arsenal s Bukayo Saka scores their side s third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday September 26, 2021.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Emirates Stadium Arsenal s Bukayo Saka scores their side s third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday, September 26, 2021.

According to a recent piece of analysis by the CIES Football Observatory, Arsenal have the 11th-youngest ‘average age on the pitch’ of all teams in the top-five European leagues, and the 1st-youngest of all Premier League teams.

Arsenal have also given the 2nd-highest percentage of minutes to under-21 players in the Premier League this season, only behind Norwich City.

Yet it was the young players who made the difference for Mikel Arteta in the North London derby at the weekend. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe popped up with a goal and an assist each in the 3-1 victory.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal battles with Harrison Reed of Fulham Arsenal v Fulham, Premier League, Football, The Emirates Stadium, London, UK - 18 Apr 2021 Photo by Javier Garcia/BPI/Shutterstock
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal battles with Harrison Reed of Fulham Arsenal v Fulham, Premier League, Football, The Emirates Stadium, London, UK – 18 Apr 2021 Photo by Javier Garcia/BPI/Shutterstock

Speaking after the game, Saka insisted Arsenal can still win trophies, even with such a young squad.

“We can achieve anything, no matter what age,” Saka said. “With age comes experience but we have a lot of experience in this squad anyway which helps us every day and teaches us.

“I believe we have a lot of quality and enough experience to achieve a lot. We’re going to take it game by game but if we play like this we have enough quality to win trophies.”

Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon - Arsenal's Bukayo Saka applauds the fans after the Carabao Cup third-round match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Copyright: Tim Goode
Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon – Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka applauds the fans after the Carabao Cup third-round match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Copyright: Tim Goode

Arsenal don’t have any European competition this season, but that arguably leaves them better placed to compete in the domestic cups.

The League Cup run is going well so far, though Leeds United will offer the biggest test yet. The FA Cup obviously doesn’t get underway for the Premier League teams until January.

As for the Premier League, I don’t think anyone seriously considers Arsenal a contender for the title this season. The goal is simply to get back into European competition.

If Saka and his youthful teammates play like they did on Sunday, that’s certainly not impossible.