Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka joins pantheon of pass masters

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka joins pantheon of pass masters

Arsenal‘s slick team goal scored against Bournemouth involved all 10 outfield players, we recall some great goals of the past from the Premier League to the World Cup

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Arsenal strung together an impressive 22 passes before Bukayo Saka opened the scoring against Bournemouth just five minutes into Monday night’s FA Cup meeting.

In a move that ebbed and flowed and involved most of the team, the Gunners eventually worked the ball to Saka, who fired home at the far post.

The deft approach play was reminiscent of some of the great team goals we’ve witnessed over the years…

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City vs. Manchester United, 2018)

A sublime, intricate move that involved 44 passes over the course of almost two full minutes — several seconds longer than it took United to score their two stoppage-time goals against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.

Juan Mata (Manchester United vs. Southampton, 2015)

Large swathes of the football played under Louis van Gaal was hopelessly turgid, but on the odd occasion when it came together, it was highly functional. United dismantled Southampton with a patient 45-pass move that culminated in Mata scoring the decider in a 3-2 victory.

Leroy Sane (Manchester City vs. West Bromwich Albion, 2017)

City also have previous when it comes to piecing together long attacking moves, with Pep Guardiola’s side amassing a remarkable, record-breaking 52 passes (with every single player touching the ball) before Sane scored against West Brom in the Carabao Cup.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal vs. Norwich City, 2013)

Depending on your point of view, Wilshere’s tippy-tappy goal against Norwich is either “Wengerball” at it’s slick, nimble best, or just a series of incredibly fortunate flukes.

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool vs. Bournemouth, 2014)

Thought to be a record at the time, all 10 of Brendan Rodgers’ outfield players exchanged 51 consecutive passes before Sterling stooped to head home the opener in this Capital One Cup tie.

Andres Iniesta (Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 2014)

Of course, we couldn’t go much further without mentioning Barcelona — the grand princes when it comes to elaborate tiki-taka. One of the finest examples of their handiwork is the 24 passes it took for Lionel Messi to eventually play Andres Iniesta in to ram one home at the Bernabeu.

Casemiro (Real Madrid vs. Deportivo la Coruna, 2017)

Real Madrid are also perfectly capable to splicing through teams with precise passes aplenty — like the 44 the whole team (all 11 players on the pitch) deployed to systematically destroy Deportivo in the opening game of the 2017-18 season.

Marc Overmars (Ajax vs. Twente, 1995)

What do you get when you combine Jari Litmanen, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, the De Boer brothers, Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reizeger, Danny Blind, Patrick Kluivert and Overmars in the same team? Magic, that’s what.

Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina vs. Serbia & Montenegro, 2006)

One of the most famous examples of the team goal genre. The Albiceleste took their time (40 seconds to be precise!), moved the ball patiently, gradually moved up through the gears and eventually picked off Serbia in ruthless fashion via Hernan Crespo’s clever backheel and Cambiasso’s emphatic finish.

Carlos Alberto (Brazil vs Italy, 1970)

Speaking of unquestionable classics, the Selecao wove through Italy like yellow smoke in the blazing heat of Mexico City before Pele nonchalantly laid the ball off for Carlos Alberto to thunder home.

Zaha turns back clock by losing trademark locks

Wilfried Zaha has revealed his throwback look by cutting off his dreadlocks.

The Crystal Palace winger debuted his new/old look on Instagram, revealing his freshly shorn head to the world.

Several of Zaha’s Palace teammates voiced their shock in the comments alongside his photo, with Jeffrey Schlupp, Tim Fosu-Mensah, Andros Townsend and even former cohort Yannick Bolasie all weighing in.

The news is certain to rock the Premier League in much the same way Marouane Fellaini‘s dramatic de-afro reinvention did back in 2018.

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