Referees must protect Bukayo Saka, urges Oleksandr Zinchenko as Arsenal star makes Lionel Messi comparison


Oleksandr Zinchenko has called for referees to provide more protection for Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka.

Zinchenko believes opposition defenders are targeting Saka unfairly and says officials need to clamp down on rough treatment being dished out to him.

Saka was on the receiving end of some robust challenges in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Aston Villa, as Arsenal climbed back above Manchester City at the top of the table.

The 21-year-old reacted angrily to one tackle from behind by Philippe Coutinho and was then booked.

Zinchenko believes teams are trying to “provoke” Saka and feels the England international is not being given enough protection.

“Bukayo is an unbelievable player, all the full backs from the other teams they know he’s so dangerous, so they try to provoke him, tackle him and the referees should know this,” said Zinchenko.

“We can speak about [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano [Ronaldo], Neymar and players like this. The referees need to protect this kind of player.

“Apart from Bukayo, we have other forward players who are so dangerous and the referees need to be careful, they need to look after them of course.”