Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka ‘looks better’ than £72m signing Nicolas Pepe in the eyes of Gunners legend Martin Keown.
The young winger capped a fine performance with a stunning first senior goal, bending a beautiful effort from the edge of the box into the top corner to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead - they went on to win 3-0.
Joe Willock gave Unai Emery’s side the lead in the first-half against Eintracht Frankfurt and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a third late on, as a mixture of young and experienced players earned an impressive victory in Germany.
But it was the youngsters who had everyone talking at full-time, with Keown insisting Saka is in better form than Pepe, who came off the bench.
“They toil away, trying to get young players in and they’ve found one in Saka,” Keown said on BT Sport at the full-time whistle.
“You think of the way Pepe is playing at the minute, they paid £72m for him and this kid looked better than him tonight.
“By the way, [Joe] Willock as well, he’s got his reward, this has been a breakthrough moment for him. He got a little bit lucky, but that’s all 100% the academy, that first goal for Arsenal.
“When Saka gets the ball [for the second goal], it shows composure, he’s passing it into the goal, it’s a beautiful finish. To think he’s 18 years of age.
“I think this is the exuberance of young players. I think this is a breakthrough moment for Willock.
“He’s been a bit rushed, lacks a little bit of composure, but I love his energy and he gets his reward tonight to put Arsenal in front.”
Emery hailed Saka, Willock and Emile Smith-Rowe too, calling it a game that everybody can be ‘happy’ with.
“Maybe with his goal and performance he was taking confidence, he was finishing really strong,” he said of Saka
“Also with Emile, after his injury. He played for the first time this season. Willock started a little slow at the beginning but progressively he was feeling very better with a good performance.
“Torreira worked a lot, Xhaka played very seriously in that match. Everybody can be happy.”
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