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Arsenal legend Ray Parlour singles out Bukayo Saka for praise after Newcastle victory


Saka netted the opener for the Gunners against the Magpies (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has lavished praise on Bukayo Saka after his goalscoring display helped the Gunners record a 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Saturday.

The north Londoners responded to their 4-0 defeat away at Liverpool last weekend in the best possible way, with second-half goals from Saka and Gabriel Martinelli securing all three points at the Emirates.

Following a frustrating first half, the Gunners improved after the break and took the lead when Saka expertly finished off a fine passing move.

The winger was forced off in the second half (Picture: Getty Images)

However, the 20-year-old had to be substituted shortly after his goal, with Mikel Arteta confirming after the game that the winger is set to undergo a scan on a muscular issue.

His replacement, Martinelli, made an instant impact as he volleyed home Takehiro Tomiyasu’s lofted pass just moments after coming on.

England international Saka has been a key performer for Arteta’s side, and Parlour feels that the sky is the limit for the Gunners academy graduate.

‘Saka has been a revelation, he and [Emile] Smith Rowe have been the main guys up front creating chances,’ Parlour told talkSPORT.

‘The way he took his goal today, it was fantastic. His movement, his runs off the ball, he’s got so much intelligence. He really can play anywhere.

‘The England call-up and playing regularly for England now has given him more belief. He can be anything he wants to be.

‘If he can keep working hard, keep his feet on the ground – which I know he has done because I’ve met him a number of times, he’s a really humble guy and really wants to work – then he can be a massive player for Arsenal going forward, and for England in major competitions.’

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The result has moved the Gunners level on points with fourth-placed West Ham, who play Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Former Arsenal midfielder Parlour lauded the team’s response to their setback against Liverpool.

‘It was a really positive result after the Liverpool game,’ Parlour added.

‘Two good goals from Arsenal’s point of view, and a clean sheet which will be very important going forward.

‘I don’t expect Arsenal to compete with Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea, but certainly they’ll be competing for fourth, fifth and sixth. That’s a very good result today.

‘You look at the whole squad, it’s a very, very young side. In the back five there’s no one really over 26 years old, we’ve got [Albert Sambi] Lokonga and [Martin] Odegaard in midfield who are still only 22, [Bukayo] Saka is 20, [Emile] Smith Rowe is 21. 

‘I think fans will give them a chance but it was certainly a big game for them. 

‘After getting thumped 4-0 by Liverpool you need a reaction, and they got that today against a Newcastle team fighting for their lives. It was a good reaction, but they’ve got to continue this now over the Christmas period.’


MORE : Mikel Arteta provides Bukayo Saka injury update ahead of Man Utd vs Arsenal


MORE : Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli sent message to Mikel Arteta with performance against Newcastle, says Martin Keown

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