Mikel Arteta backs Bukayo Saka after penalty miss

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Mikel Arteta says Bukayo Saka will remain Arsenal’s No.1 penalty taker despite his miss from the spot against West Ham.

Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka missed a penalty that would have put the visitors 3-1 up at the London Stadium, his first failure from the spot since his effort was saved in the Euro 2020 final shoot-out, with the game eventually finishing 2-2.

Arteta, though, feels the miss could prove a blessing in disguise for a player who bounced back from being racially abused following his miss for England.

“Experiences help, obviously, and what he went through was tough but in a different way it was something beautiful and a great experience for him,” added Arteta.

“I think that helped him, not only him but the people around him as well to understand what the reaction has to be, the support and protection that he needs and he will go again.

“He loves responsibility but he puts a lot on his shoulders as well. Again, if he had any doubt about how much people love him, respect him and admire him at the club I think he had a very overwhelming reaction from everyone in the building and the club.

“In the end I think it can be something very positive that can give him a big lift because everyone acted in an unbelievable way towards him because he deserves it because of the way he is.”

Asked if Saka will remain Arsenal’s penalty taker, the Spaniard said: “Yes. If not, I will go on the pitch and throw him the ball to make sure he takes the next one!”


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