Martin Keown praised Bukayo Saka as Arsenal continued their good run of form by beating Bodo/Glimt, saying the England star has ‘gone to another level’ this campaign.
Saka scored his fourth goal of the season on Thursday to put Arsenal ahead against Europa League rivals Bodo/Glimt in Norway.
The 21-year-old made a superb start to the game and broke the deadlock when his shot deflected off his own chest to find the net.
Saka continued to impress until he was then replaced by Granit Xhaka in the second half as Mikel Arteta chose to make some changes ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game at Leeds United.
Speaking at half-time, Keown singled out Saka for praise and said he has been ‘different class’ for Premier League leaders Arsenal.
‘It hasn’t been thrilling but it shows the reputation Arsenal are building,’ Keown told BT Sport. ‘Sometimes you need to grind out wins and stand up to the opposition and play when you can play.
‘When you get the ball to players like Bukayo Saka… he’s just different class at the moment this fella. He’s got the full-back on toast tonight.
‘It was a great run for the goal, obviously he gets lucky but it’s brilliant how he gets into that area. He’s gone to another level.’
After Arsenal’s 1-0 win, Keown added: ‘Saka’s top drawer. Tonight his class was the difference. He’s going through the gears in an Arsenal shirt now.
‘All in all I think Mikel Arteta will be happy with tonight. They managed to grind out the result and they did just enough to get the win.’
Former England player Joe Cole also spoke glowingly of Saka after Arsenal got their 11th win from 12 games this campaign, calling him a ‘wonderful player’.
‘He’s got that wonderful combination of speed and control,’ Cole said. ‘He’s a wonderful player and every time I watch him he’s improving.
‘You need to remember how young he is. Arsenal have got a gem here. He’s already one of the leaders on the pitch. He’s a fantastic footballer and one Arsenal need to tie down and build a team around.’
Arsenal’s win in Norway means the Gunners have now taken maximum points from their first three Europa League matches this season.