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Mikel Arteta explains why Bukayo Saka missed Arsenal win over Luton

Mikel Arteta has explained why winger Bukayo Saka was absent from Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Luton Town on Wednesday

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that star player Bukayo Saka is nursing an injury, leading to his absence from the squad for their recent Premier League fixture against Luton. The 22-year-old was sidelined after sustaining an injury during the team’s 0-0 draw against Manchester City.

A heavily rotated Arsenal side comfortably defeated Luton Town 2-0 on Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium with Martin Odegaard the star of the show.

Arteta made four other changes to the lineup, including the return of midfielder Thomas Partey, who made his first start since August. Commenting on the changes, Arteta emphasised the importance of Partey’s presence, stating, “He’s been missed big-time… he brings qualities that we don’t have within the team.”

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Regarding the injury to Bukayo Saka, Arteta explained, “He had to come off against Manchester City three days ago feeling something and he hasn’t been able to do everything that we needed to give him the chance to start the game. So we have decided not to play him.”

Emile Smith Rowe, another key player, also featured in the starting XI. Arteta expressed confidence in Smith Rowe’s abilities, stating, “He’s been really good when he’s played… we’re really looking forward to seeing him play.”

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Despite Saka’s absence, Arsenal moved top of the table with the victory over Luton. However, a win for Liverpool on Thursday against Sheffield United will take them back on top. 

Reflecting on the intense competition in the league, Arteta highlighted the significance of each match in the run-in. He expressed excitement about the remaining games of the season and emphasised the need for thorough preparation and performance in every encounter.

I’m really excited [for the run-in]. We had these discussions when we played Liverpool a few months ago, it’s a must-win or a not-lose because you know the title is over.

“That was two months ago! It’s always like that when you look back in October and you feel the necessity to win and be there and it’s not going to change from now until the end. Obviously, the end is coming.”

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