'That's their job' - Arsenal boss Arteta calls on referees to give Saka more protection

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Mikel Arteta has called for better protection for Bukayo Saka in the belief the winger has been targeted by some heavy challenges in recent weeks.
  • Arteta calls for better protection
  • Says he'll be bigger target the better he gets
  • Been on end of heavy challenges

WHAT HAPPENED? After Ian Wright spoke about the treatment Arsenal winger Saka gets from opposition defenders, Arteta chimed in with his call for better refereeing and player protection. Wright claimed Saka is getting "kicked to bits", and Arteta warned Saka it will happen more regularly the better he gets.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking ahead of Arsenal's trip to Wolves on Saturday, Arteta said: "The better the players become, the bigger target they become because people try and find ways to stop him. That is why football has very clear rules, what you can do and what you cannot do, and that is the referees’ job [to protect players].”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The conversation was started following a clash between Saka and Marc Cucurella in Arsenal's trip to Chelsea last Sunday. Saka was booked for retaliating to Cucurella's attempt to trip him. The Englishman was penalised for his reaction, but it could be argued he was right to be frustrated.

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AND WHAT'S MORE: The lack of protection for Saka was first highlighted when he hobbled off against Nottingham Forest last month following a heavy challenge. It seemed to put his World Cup involvement in jeopardy but luckily the injury was not as bad as first feared and he has played since.


 Cucurella - Saka Chelsea vs Arsenal

Saka Arsenal 2022-23

WHAT NEXT FOR SAKA? The winger closes off his Premier League duties with a game against Wolves on Saturday before heading to the World Cup with England. Their first match of the tournament is against Iran on November 21.