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Things just keep getting better and better for Bukayo Saka.
The teenager put pen to paper on his new four-year deal at Arsenal in midweek and celebrated in fine style on Saturday by scoring a fabulous goal as Mikel Arteta’s earned a vital 2-0 win at Wolves.
It was Saka’s fourth goal of the season– his first ever in the Premier League– and was an indicator as to why the Gunners were so determined to secure his long-term future as swiftly as possible.
The victory moves Arsenal up to seventh in the standings and keeps their slim hopes of Champions League qualification above. It was their first away league win against a team above them in the table since an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick inspired them to a 5-2 successive at Leicester on September 26, 2015.
Since losing at Brighton a fortnight ago, Arteta’s side have responded with four successive wins in all competitions to keep what appeared to be a faltering season alive.
The dejection that met the defeat at the Amex has been replaced by optimism, with Saka at the heart of that mood change.
His contract extension gave a huge boost to everyone and the club and he showed why there is so much excitement over his progress by starting Arsenal on their route to victoryat Molineux.
It was far from the teenager’s best performance, but the quality of his finish when he swept home on the half volley on 43 minutes was a clear indicator of his talent.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kieran Tierney were heavily involved, but when the left-back’s cross deflected into Saka’s path, there was still plenty for the 18-year-old to do. He did it brilliantly, though, hooking his finish across Rui Patricio and into the corner.
Saka now has 15 direct goal involvements for Arsenal this season– only Aubameyang (24) and Nicolas Pepe (16) have more. He is also now the youngest Englishmen to score an away league goal for the Gunners since Stewart Robson netted at Everton in March 1983.
This was a massive win for Arsenal at the end of what has been a very good week, one that has now featured three wins as well as the contract extensions to Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
After going in front through Saka’s striker just before half-time, they had to survive a bit of a storm from Wolves in the second half and they did it well, with Emiliano Martinez excellent once again in goal and the defence working so hard to cut off the suplly line toRaul Jimenez.
Martinez, in for the injured Bernd Leno, didn’t have a save to make, other than a very early stop from Adama Traore, but his handling was immaculate throughout and he constantly came to claim crosses to ease the pressure on those in front of him.
Traore did have one golden chance to equalise for the home side when he was sent clear midway through the second half, but he lifted his finish over the bar as Martinez came out to meet him.
That was the closest Wolves came to snatching point, with Arsenal making the game safe on 86 minutes when Alexandre Lacazette scored his first away goal in the league since February 2019, thumping a finish in off the post just three minutes after he had replaced Eddie Nketiah.
The goal capped an excellent afternoon for Arsenal and put the gloss on a hugely encouraging week.