The eternal rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur was on display yet again when a YouTube channel named ‘We are Tottenham TV’ invited a couple of fans from both sides to make a combined 11 before the second North London Derby of the season in the Premier League.
There were heated discussions for every position, ranging from the goalkeeper to the forward line, but one particular comparison stood out from the rest.
This argument caught the attention of the fans of both the clubs who have now launched an all-out war on Twitter to support their player and make him stand out from the other.
But despite all their oratorical suggestions, there seems to be only a marginal difference between the Swede and the Englishman. But that difference has opened a door to a bigger discussion between both fan bases.
Put Saka with Kane & Son and watch him thrive
Saka has completed his fourth season with Arsenal and by far this has been the most rewarding one despite the Gunners missing out on Champions League football.
The 20-year-old has racked up 11 goals and seven assists in 38 appearances while if we put those numbers against Kulusevski’s short tenure at Spurs, the ball falls in the Swede’s court who now has five goals and eight crucial assists in a mere 18 appearances. He has complimented Son Heung-min and Harry Kane in their attacking duties and has been able to shed some load from their shoulders.
Needless to say, Kulusevski has helped to dethrone Arsenal from the fourth spot. Although many fans pointed out Saka’s brilliance to dribble the ball past defenders which led to more big chances being created (8) by the Englishman as compared to his rival Kulusevski (6), it’s only right to note that Kulusevski has two world-class forwards like Son and Kane up front while Saka has to make up without such a massive help.
But Kulu can defend too
If Saka’s short height gives him the cutting edge to dribble past players, Kulusevski’s sturdy build helps him to ward off defenders. Antonio Conte expects all his players to defend and Kulusevski came off with flying colours after posting a 68% tackle success rate, winning the ball in critical areas and providing that help to his forwards.
While Saka is mostly left to dazzle up front and create chances rather than lunging back to clear the ball.
Same conversation?— Aryeh (@Lane_THFC) June 2, 2022
I mean, if anything, Kulusevski has shown he’s better.
Let’s chalk it up to the British tax.
On current form
The 22-year-old Swedish international has made an instant impact on the Spurs side. With him present in the starting XI, Spurs look more agile and complete. If we go on just the current form, Kulusevski is clear.
He steered his team to a Champions League spot, had a better work rate, and sealed his fate with Conte while Saka lost steam towards the latter half of the season as Eddie Nketiah garnered headlines for his impeccable performances.
The big picture
For all his hype and glitter, Saka has been underwhelming this season and the numbers do prove it. After magnanimous performances with England at the Euros, Saka was burdened with the weight of missing a title-winning penalty in the final, for which he received a lot of hate.
Even post the Euros, the Englishman is considered to be a top talent with all the markings of becoming an elite player. But the Spurs fans are quick to dismiss him as a ‘one-time’ wonder who now has lost his abilities and as for Kulusevski, he could do no wrong at the moment.
Kulusevski is enjoying his ride at the moment, but Saka seems to be carrying a new age cargo with an age-old engine. The odds are in favour of the Swede at present, but in football; it doesn’t take much for scales to shift.