The teenage winger says his more experienced colleague is a demanding figure at Emirates Stadium
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “can be quite angry” during matches, according to Bukayo Saka, who says the Arsenal captain always tries to toughen up his younger team-mates.
Saka has played regularly alongside Aubameyang since graduating to the first team at Emirates Stadium in 2018, with the pair forming a profitable relationship in the final third of the pitch.
The 19-year-old says the Gabon striker is an inspiring figure who helps to bring the best out of him, but has also admitted he is unafraid to crack the whip as skipper if he ever feels his colleagues are falling short of the required standard.
What’s been said?
“Every time I played with him I’ve always had so much confidence,” Saka told beIN Sports of Aubameyang’s leadership qualities.
“Sometimes he would tell you, you would have to pass to him and if you make a mistake then he can be quite angry.
“But the game where I scored my first goal for Arsenal against Frankfurt, before the game he said to me, ‘Bukayo, you know you’re very good player. If you’re there in front of goal and you want to shoot – shoot! I’m not going to say anything’.
“My parents love him so much as well!”
How has Aubameyang performed for Arsenal in 2020-21?
Aubameyang has been Arsenal’s main source of goals since his arrival at the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, scoring 84 goals in 138 games across all competitions.
However, only 14 of those efforts have been recorded in 2020-21, with the 31-year-old having endured struggles for form and fitness over the past few months.
Aubameyang has just nine goals to his name from 23 Premier League outings to date, with his last goals coming in a 3-2 Europa League win over Benfica on February 25.
What can Auba & Saka achieve at Arsenal this season?
Aubameyang’s failings in the final third have coincided with a worrying slide down the Premier League table for Arsenal, who are sitting in 10th after 27 matches.
However, the Gunners still have an outside chance of making the top four if they can win most of their remaining games, and the Europa League is also still up for grabs for Arteta’s side.
The continued presence of Aubameyang and Saka will be crucial to their chances of success, with the latter insisting that Arteta is helping him to become a better all-round player.
“He’s always telling me how to be one step ahead of the opponents and always try to be proactive instead of reactive,” he added on the Spaniard.
“That means instead of reacting, always being ahead of the game and trying to read where the space is going to be and be there a step earlier so that I can have a bit more time.”