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Mikel Arteta backs Bukayo Saka to stay on penalty duties despite miss against West Ham

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta disclosed that Bukayo Saka will remain on penalty duties despite missing a crucial spot-kick against West Ham United on Sunday.

The attacker had the chance to put his side 3-1 up against the Hammers but fired his shot off-target. West Ham subsequently equalised through Jarrod Bowen.

The loss allowed Manchester City to move closer to the Premier League table-toppers.

Arteta had previously said that missing penalties is an occupational hazard of taking on the responsibility.

At his press conference ahead of their game against Southampton game tomorrow, he said (via Arsenal’s official website): “He loves the responsibility, but as well, he puts a lot on his shoulders.

“If he had any doubt about how much people loved or respected him or admired him at the club, he had a very overwhelming reaction from everybody in the building and at the club.

“I think at the end of this, it can be something very positive that can give him a big lift because everyone reacted in an unbelievable way towards him because he deserves it because of the way he is.”

When asked whether the 21-year-old would continue to take penalties, Arteta added: “Yes. If he is on the pitch, we will throw him the ball and make sure he takes the next one.”

Arsenal welcome the Saints to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow, looking for three points to boost their title hopes.

The Gunners have dropped two-goal leads in their last two games but will fancy themselves against the bottom-placed club.

Southampton are without a win in their last six games. Their most recent victory came early in March and they look destined for the Championship.

Arsenal lead Man City by four points, but the reigning champions have a game in hand.

The two teams meet at the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday in a potential title decider.

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