Sporting defender Jeremiah St. Juste described Arsenal’s attackers, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, as “the two best wingers in Europe” ahead of the 2-2 draw on Thursday night.
The Gunners, who currently lead the Premier League by five points, travelled to Lisbon on Wednesday night, but were held to a 2-2 draw by Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie.
Ahead of the game, central defender St. Juste was asked if Saka and Martinelli are currently the two best wingers in Europe, to which he responded by saying: “Yeah, I think so.
“They have a lot of quality and they prove that weekly at the highest level so it’s going to be an exciting challenge.”
Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have thrived on the flanks for the Gunners this term, each scoring 11 times to sit joint top of the club’s scoring charts.
Their exploits have helped make the north London outfit surprise title contenders as they look to end a 19-year wait for a league triumph.
Saka is a product of the famed Hale-End academy and has been on the rise ever since he was handed his debut by previous boss Unai Emery. Martinelli meanwhile was signed as a relatively unknown quantity from his native Brazil and has come leaps and bounds since.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is one of those who admire Martinelli’s obvious talents. After facing the Brazilian maestro, the German declared: “Martinelli’s pretty much the same age but he’s a talent of the century, he’s an incredible striker, so it’s really difficult.
“A lot of talent…Martinelli, I was excited about him early, Odegaard, I spoke to him at 15 in Norway with his dad. Saka… ooof!
“And Gabriel Jesus, Mikel could see how good he could be not in a Man City shirt. Thomas Partey, everyone saw how good he was at Atletico Madrid.
“Lots of quality. A young, exciting team doing really well.”
The Brazilian international recently put pen to paper a new long-term contract extension with the north Londoners, and the Gunners faithful will be hoping they get the good news on Saka’s contract situation sooner rather than later.
The two youngsters have long been touted for big things, but this year they have both truly shown their potential.
The Gunners will take a 2-2 draw back to the Emirates Stadium for the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie with Sporting CP after an entertaining first leg in Lisbon on Thursday.
The tie is now finely balanced ahead of the second leg at the Emirates next week but it will be Arsenal who are the most confident of booking a place in the quarter-finals.