Arsenal fans must have been furious at what Gareth Southgate did in the 81st minute – Our View

Arsenal fans must have been furious at Gareth Southgate on Thursday as they watched England and Bukayo Saka record a 2-1 win over Italy.

What’s the story?

Well, Saka – unsurprisingly – started for the Three Lions as a result of his excellent displays for Arsenal.

With ten games still to play in the Premier League title race, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal fans probably would have preferred to see the 21-year-old sit out and rest, as many fear an injury to the Hale End graduate.

Those fears surely turned to anger in the 81st minute of England’s 2-1 win over Italy.

After Luke Shaw received a red card in the 80th minute, Southgate decided to withdraw Phil Foden instead of Saka as he threw Kieran Trippier on to help preserve England’s lead.

That was despite the fact the Manchester City No.47 had only just come on in the 69th minute – the decision surely knocked his confidence.

In our view, it was a bizarre move to take Foden off just 12 minutes are bringing him on, when Saka had played the entire game up to that point and operates in a similar position to the Manchester City star.

Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Southgate did eventually substitute the Arsenal No.7 in the 85th minute, which adds to the confusion as to why he didn’t just take him off after Shaw’s red card in the first place.

Had Saka suffered an injury in those four minutes before he did eventually come off for Reece James, Southgate would have been public enemy No.1 at the Emirates Stadium.

How Arsenal No.7 Saka performed for England

In truth, Southgate probably could have substituted Saka instead of Foden due on his performance alone – which was underwhelming based on the lofty standards he has set for himself.

As WhoScored shows, the Arsenal No.7 only completed 69.2% of his passes against Italy, while also registering just one key pass and one shot.

Of course, it wasn’t a bad display by any means from Saka, but after making a name for himself as one of the Premier League’s best attackers, expectations are rising.

Hopefully, the Arsenal wonderkid makes it through Sunday’s clash against Ukraine unscathed, and he returns to Arsenal feeling fit enough to wrestle the Premier League title from Manchester City.

In other news, Dejan Kulusevski offers three-word response when asked if he wants Spurs stay even if Conte goes

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