Jack Grealish sends three-word message to Arsenal star Bukayo Saka after Europa League win

Arsenal: Arteta hails youngsters as they ease through

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Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has hailed Bukayo Saka after the 19-year-old’s starring performance in Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat of Slavia Prague. The thrashing sent the Gunners comfortably into the Europa League semi-finals, where they will face former manager Unai Emery and his Villarreal team.

Saka has been a revelation for Arsenal since being moved to a position on the right wing by manager Mikel Arteta, scoring six goals and notching five assists.

His incredible form continued in the Czech Republic, where he was again selected on the right of the three playing behind striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Emile Smith Rowe thought he had put Arsenal ahead 14 minutes in when he slotted home the rebound after Saka’s shot was turned onto the post, but he was judged to be offside.

Nicolas Pepe did then open the scoring four minutes later, before Saka was played in by Emile Smith Rowe and his driving run was unfairly halted by Jakub Hromada, resulting in a penalty which Lacazette converted.

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Saka then got on the scoresheet himself, driving in from the right before firing into the bottom corner of Ondřej Kolář’s goal.

Arteta’s men controlled the game well thereafter, with Lacazette capping one of the Gunners’ best performances of the season with his second goal 13 minutes from time.

Saka himself was delighted with the win, which means that Arsenal will travel to Spain for the first leg of their semi-final at the end of the month.

“It was fantastic from start to finish,” the Gunners academy product told BT Sport.

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“It shows everyone how exciting we can be, when we play like this it is so amazing to be involved in. I think we showed real character.

“We did it for all the fans. They all deserve it for all the support that they give us.”

One of those people watching was Villa midfielder Grealish, who hailed Saka for his performance in the win.

“You’re moving crazy,” Grealish wrote on an Instagram story which he tagged Saka on.

The two young stars have grown close this season after being called up for England duty towards the end of last season.

Gunners’ boss Arteta joined Grealish in praising Saka after the match, admitting that the 19-year-old and fellow academy product Smith Rowe are ‘joys to watch’.

“For me, it’s a joy to watch them play and to watch them every day in training,” Arteta said when asked about the performances of Saka and Smith Rowe.

“How they behave, the passion and the commitment they have for the club and how much they love to play. I thought both of them were really good.”

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