Mikel Arteta hopes to avoid unnecessary pressure on Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka

Ed Elliot, PA
·3-min read

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants to prevent teenage star Bukayo Saka becoming burdened by expectation following another standout display.

Saka backed up his goal in the 3-1 Boxing Day success over Chelsea by creating Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half winner in Tuesday’s 1-0 Premier League victory at struggling Brighton.

The 19-year-old has emerged as one of England’s finest young talents and has already been capped four times at senior international level.

While Arteta has been impressed by Saka’s rapid development, he is eager to avoid piling unnecessary pressure on the youngster.

“I would like everybody to be cautious, let him be and let him develop,” said the Spaniard.

“I think he’s having the right progression. I think he has the right people around him in his house, in his entourage.

“And he’s got the right team-mates as well to support him all the time, giving him confidence and keeping his feet on the floor.

“Then hopefully we can be the right coaches around him and the right club to see the player that he can be in the future.”

Following a dismal first-half showing at the Amex Stadium, Arsenal were in desperate need of a spark.

Saka provided it by spinning away from Dan Burn inside his own half, racing down the right flank and centring for substitute Lacazette to find the bottom corner just 21 seconds after coming on to the pitch.

The academy product limped off nine minutes from time but his manager does not believe the problem to be serious.

“I think he took a strong challenge, but hopefully he will be fine,” said Arteta.

Arsenal are reportedly lining up a January move for Real Madrid playmaker Isco.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Spain international Isco
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Spain international Isco (Adam Davy/PA)

Arteta said successive wins would not alter his transfer plans and remained tight-lipped on potential targets.

“The last few results won’t change our approach to the window and obviously we cannot talk about an individual player,” he said when asked about Isco.

Brighton remain in trouble after registering just one home league win in 2020.

Having defeated Arsenal 2-1 at the Amex Stadium in June, the Seagulls were unable to repeat the trick due to a lack of killer instinct and have now tasted victory just once in 14 top-flight games.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who was selected to lead the line as part of six changes made by boss Graham Potter, insists Albion can rectify their alarming slump.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh believes Brighton have the quality to move away from relegation danger
Alireza Jahanbakhsh believes Brighton have the quality to move away from relegation danger (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“We work our socks off, you can see that our performances are really good,” the Iran international told Brighton’s website.

“If you watch all of our games, we create four or five very good chances every game but we need to turn them into goals – that’s what we need to work on.

“This moment isn’t going to last forever though, there will be a time when those chances go in and then you will see how much quality we have got.

“We know with what we have in terms of our ability, we can turn this around.

“The picture can change quickly and if you put a couple of wins together you can climb the table very quickly.”