Bukayo Saka breaks silence on new Arsenal role as Declan Rice approves Mikel Arteta decision


Bukayo Saka has claimed that it was an honour to captain Arsenal during the Gunners' clash against Chelsea on Saturday night. The 22-year-old winger, who had never previously donned the armband for his childhood club, was handed his new leadership role when Mikel Arteta replaced Martin Odegaard for Kai Havertz with quarter-of-an-hour left to play.

Under Saka's stewardship, Arsenal salvaged a draw against the Blues. In fact, it was the Hale End graduate who picked out Leandro Trossard at the back post, rescuing a crucial point in the Premier League title race.

After the game, Saka marked the occasion with a celebratory post on Instagram. Under an image of himself wearing the captain's armband, the England international wrote: "An honour to wear the armband for the first time. My club! [Captain and red heart emojis]."

His post quickly racked up nearly 200,000 likes in just a couple of hours with Arsenal fans flooding the comment section with messages of support. But one message from Declan Rice stood out; the former West Ham midfielder wrote: "What a sight [love heart eyes emoji]."

Among the wealth of experienced players on the pitch who could have been handed the armband, it was Saka who was handed the torch – and Rice certainly agrees with Arteta's bold decision. Speaking post-match, the Arsenal boss praised his players for how they reacted to Chelsea doubling their lead.

"The way the team reacted to the second goal is phenomenal from the players on the pitch and the players on the bench thinking how the hell am I going to change this game," said Arteta. "I loved that. I really liked as well going into the dressing room and it’s really quiet, after drawing 2-2 with Chelsea and coming back from 2-0 down, because I know that they wanted more. That’s the positive."

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And then, on Arsenal's display of character, Arteta added: "I have no doubt about that. I could see at half time, it was a knife between our teeth and we had to do better and the game was still there for us. We had that belief.

"Even with the goal we conceded, we continued to be like this. I loved that about the team and I’m going to demand that from them every single day. This is who we are and the only way to still create a lot of issues with the opponent even when you’re not at your best."

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