Tottenham and Arsenal may be bitter rivals, but that rivalry can be put aside at times.
And today was one of those days as Arsenal travelled to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a pre-season friendly as part of the Mind Series, with Spurs winning the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Son Heung-min.
While there were no points at stake in the contest, there is always pride involved when the two north London rivals meet and this occasion was no different.
But what was different was a show of appreciation for an opposing player from the Tottenham fans.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka was greeted with a sea of applause from Spurs fans inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as he entered the fray as a second half substitute, something which clearly meant a lot to the teenager as he applauded back in the supporters’ direction.
Saka was also the subject of a banner displayed inside the ground, with Spurs fans showing their support for the Arsenal star after he was subjected to racial abuse following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy.
Saka’s penalty was saved as England lost out in a shootout against Italy at Wembley last month, with the Arsenal teenager, along with Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford – who also missed penalties – subjected to racial abuse in the days after the final.
Upon returning to Arsenal training on Wednesday, Saka was met with a touching tribute from fans, who had sent in a plethora of letters voicing their support for him ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
He was left lost for words upon seeing the support he had garnered within the fanbase, clearly emotional at the sheer amount of fans that have backed him over the last month.
Saka could be heard saying “Oh my god”, “I’m speechless” and “How do I even say thank you for all of this?” during the heart-warming clip.
The 19-year-old was again left thanking supporters today after an outpouring of support for him, although this time it was from the unlikely source of the supporters of his club’s bitter north London rivals.
Saka was given a late run out in the game as he looks to regain his fitness before the Gunners travel to newly-promoted Brentford on August 13, where he will most likely again be met with considerable support from both sets of fans.