It's been a while since he last played at left back

Where are they now? The Arsenal XI from Bukayo Saka’s last game at left-back

Bukayo Saka started his Arsenal career as a left-back before then transitioning into the top-class right winger that we all know and love today.

The last time the 22-year-old started at left-back for Arsenal in the Premier League was back in May 2021 when the Gunners beat West Brom 3-1 at the Emirates.

Since then, he’s pretty much exclusively started on the right-hand side, although Gareth Southgate recently used the Arsenal star as a left-back in England’s latest game against Slovakia.

We’ve gone back to the Arsenal XI from the last time that Saka started at left back and have checked out where all of those players are today.

GK: Bernd Leno

Not long after this game against West Brom, Leno knew his days at Arsenal were numbered. Aaron Ramsdale arrived a few months later and soon pushed him out of Mikel Arteta’s XI.

Since leaving North London, the German goalkeeper has done well for himself and has become one of the most consistent shot-stoppers in the league for Fulham.

RB: Calum Chambers

After spending eight years with the Gunners, Chambers departed in 2022 and joined Aston Villa on a free transfer. Having only started in 12 league matches since making the move, it’s fair to say that he’s quite far down the pecking order.

CB: Rob Holding

After racking up over 160 appearances for Arsenal, Holding said his goodbyes last summer and joined fellow London club Crystal Palace.

However, it’s not been smooth sailing for the 28-year-old since making the switch to Selhurst Park. He only made one appearance last season and missed the majority of the campaign through injury.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes

Of the Arsenal XI that lined up against West Brom in 2021, Gabriel is one of only a handful of players who is still at the club today.

The Brazilian has formed a formidable partnership with William Saliba over the last few years and is now considered one of the best defenders in the league.

LB: Bukayo Saka

Given how efficient Saka has become at right wing, it now seems strange looking back on his early days when he was deployed at left-back.

However, if Southgate’s recent comments are anything to go by, we could see the 22-year-old deployed at left-back more often for England going forward.

“We felt that Bukayo at left-back gave us an extra attacking outlet,” Southgate told reporters after England beat Slovakia.

“It is a good option to have.”

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CM: Dani Ceballos

After spending two years on loan with Arsenal, Ceballos has since returned to Real Madrid and has reintegrated his way back into the squad.

He made 27 appearances across all competitions last season and managed to get his hands on La Liga, Supercopa de Espana and the Champions League. You can’t knock that.

CM: Mohamed Elneny

Having spent the last eight years on the books at Arsenal, Elneny’s time in North London has finally come to an end this summer.

It remains to be seen where the Egyptian international will land next, but he’ll certainly have the best wishes of every Arsenal fan behind him.

“Gooners, I’m here today to send you a message, to say goodbye and thank you for everything you’ve done for me,” Elneny said upon leaving the club.

“The love, the support and the kindness. I’m really going to miss you so much and you’ll be in my heart forever.”

RW: Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal have a decent track record in recent transfer windows, but there can be no denying that Pepe was an unequivocal flop in North London.

He did provide some flashes of quality and even scored in this game against West Brom, but his lofty £72million price tag was never justified during his time in England.

After having his Arsenal contract terminated, he spent last season with Trabzonspor but now finds himself on the free agents pile once again.

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe in action during a Pre Season Friendly - 1. FC Nuremberg v Arsenal - Max-Morlock-Stadion, Nuremberg, Germany - July 8, 2022

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CAM: Emile Smith Rowe

The 23-year-old has had some rotten luck with injuries over the years. While he’s still on the books at Arsenal today, a sale this summer seems inevitable.

Capable of being a game changer when given a run of games, we’ve got our fingers crossed we get to see a bit more of him next season.

LW: Willian

The Brazilian looked like he was on his last legs during his final days with Arsenal but following a short pit-stop back in Brazil, he’s looked back to his usual self for Fulham.

Technically, he’s currently a free agent, although he still has a contract renewal offer on the table from Fulham.

It’s been well-documented that he has admirers in the Saudi Pro League and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him there next season.

ST: Gabriel Martinelli

Back in 2021, Martinelli was still a raw prospect who was finding his feet in the Premier League. Fast forward to 2024 and he’s one of Arsenal’s sharpest shooters.

The 23-year-old is currently away with Brazil at Copa America and will no doubt have a big role to play in Arsenal’s title push next season.