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A closer look at the numbers behind Bukayo Saka’s club-record run of appearances

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Oct 2023

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Bukayo Saka’s club-record run of consecutive Premier League appearances ended as he missed Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City due to injury.

The England winger had played 87 successive top-flight games and here, the PA news agency looks at his record.

Key man

Saka has four goals and two assists in seven Premier League appearances this season, a total which could have been even higher had he not ceded penalty-taking duties to first Martin Odegaard and then Kai Havertz against Bournemouth last week.

Since he last missed a game, as an unused substitute against Newcastle on May 2, 2021, Saka has started all but four of Arsenal’s league games and come on as a substitute in the others. He has played the full 90 minutes plus stoppage time on 44 occasions, almost exactly half the games in his run.

He has 29 goals and 21 assists to his name in that time for a combined total of 50 in the 87 games.

That accounts for the vast majority of his 35 Premier League goals overall, in 142 total appearances, and includes reaching double figures in each of the last two seasons – with 11 and then 14 – as well as for assists (11) last term.

Arsenal have won 57 of those games, with 11 draws and 19 defeats for a total of 182 points. Their 84 last season brought them a second-placed finish behind champions City.

Passing Merson

Paul Merson held the previous record with a run of 82 consecutive Arsenal appearances in the Premier League.

Merson was ever-present for just over two years between defeats to Sheffield Wednesday on February 4, 1995 and Wimbledon on February 23, 1997, before sitting out the following week’s win over Everton.

The two-time league champion – like Saka, an Arsenal academy product – scored 15 goals in that run, contributing to his career total of 99 in 425 Gunners appearances across all competitions.

Saka has 43 in 189 games overall and, aged just 22, has already surpassed Merson’s totals of 21 caps and three goals for England – how far can he go with the club?

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