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Bukayo Saka insists it is still too soon to talk of Arsenal being the ones to catch in any title race.
Mikel Arteta ’s red-hot outfit are top of the table going into today’s clash at Leeds, courtesy of a near-perfect 24 points from a possible 27 since the August kick-off. But despite that representing the Gunners’ best start in 18 years, Saka has dismissed the idea they are the side to beat in the battle for domestic supremacy. No chance. At least, not yet, with only a quarter of the season gone.
Indeed, the Arsenal winger, scoffed at suggestions that it must feel different – and require a new mindset -to lead from the front rather than being part of a pack hunting down the table-toppers.
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Saka declared: “No, not really. It’s really early in the season to be thinking about staying top or that anyone is chasing us. It’s just important to stay focused because if we continue to win each game, we still stay at the top! So, we don’t need to over-think it – about being chased and stuff like that.
That said, Saka accepts the mid-term aim is to stay as high as possible between now and the World Cup beginning late next month. The Three Lions star, with 20 caps, went on: “Of course, yes, that’s a challenge we have to face and we’re going to try and do that.
“But the way to do that, like I said, is to prep for every game. The focus must be on Arsenal now before internationals.”
Saka was included in Arteta’s shuffled-yet-still-strong pack in the Europa League victory over Boda/Glimt on Thursday. His bundled goal, his third in two games, was the only strike of a tight night in Norway on a plastic pitch.
But, while far from pretty, especially compared to the recent league routs of Tottenham and Liverpool, Saka reckons winning ugly is another sign of their development into a side capable of getting results even when below par.
Of the eve of the Elland Road trip, he explained: “That’s a classic example. We didn’t play our best and were not so happy with our performance. But at the end of the day the day, we leave there with the three points. That’s the most important thing and we can be happy with that. It’s a big learning curve but sometimes you’ve just got to do what it takes to win.”
As for the growing spotlight on them as they continue to set a blistering pace, they can cope being the centre of attention, according to Saka. After all, this is the same bunch who were followed everywhere last season by Amazon Prime cameras for the “All or Nothing’ blockbuster.
Saka, 21, claimed: “I wouldn’t say there was pressure on the team because of the Amazon cameras. I didn’t feel any from that. Before all that, it’s about our objectives and that comes from within. So, whatever we desire to achieve, that’s the pressure we put on ourselves. Anything on the outside, isn’t really going to put extra pressure on us.”
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- Europa League
- Amazon Prime
- Premier League
- World Cup
- Arsenal FC
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