We returned back to winning ways in our midweek win over a decent Eintracht Frankfurt team. Not only was it a welcome fillip after last weekend’s fiasco, the real kicker was the team that achieved the win.
Our youth players were the catalyst for the win, in a stadium where an English side had never won before. At a ground that hadn’t suffered defeat in a European fixture since 2006.
Are we overhyping things? Perhaps. While Eintracht Frankfurt are a good side and were within a whisker of facing us in last season’s Europa League final instead of Chelsea, they are not the calibre of sides we should be facing, like Juve, Barca, the Madrid’s, Bayern and PSG.
Still, can anyone blame us for getting a little over-excited? We have been pretty dire recently, and doubts have surfaced regarding Emery’s grip on tactics and how much of his work is getting through to the squad.
So let’s enjoy the fact that our youth system is in the rudest of health, and the current crop pushing through is a very exciting one.
Very exciting indeed, and one player still in his teenage years pushed his claim far more forward than it was prior to the kickoff of the game.
Bukayo Saka started the game, along with Emile Smith-Rowe and Jo Willock. Throw in Emi Martinez, Calum Chambers and Lucas Torreira and you have a very youthful lineup. It didn’t affect our players though, and we kept to our task gamely, even under fierce pressure.
We had plenty of defending to do, but such is Eintracht’s tactics, it was a pretty open game and we had a few opportunities of our own. When we did, it was invariably Saka who was involved, with the confidence of youth buoying him in his take-on attempts. His footwork is a blur and his stamina was in full effect for the entirety of the game.
All at the age of 18 years old. The majority of kids that age are paralytic on cheap cider at the local park. Not Saka though.
He is another wide option that could prove pivotal to us staying in the cup competitions. He is another viable option that could either come on from the bench and change proceedings, or he could start from the whistle.
Saka looks mightily impressive, and with the impact that Willock is making this season, and the trust Emery seems to have in Smith-Rowe, it shows we are moving in the right direction with our prospects.
Long may it continue. Well done Saka.