Mikel Arteta explains why Bukayo Saka missed Arsenal v Luton Town | Football

Bukayo Saka was absent as Arsenal played host to Luton Town (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has explained why Bukayo Saka missed Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Luton Town.

The England winger started Arsenal’s goalless draw with Manchester City on Sunday before being replaced by Gabriel Martinelli in the 78th minute.

Saka gave Arsenal fans an injury scare during the international break by pulling out of England’s Wembley friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

The 22-year-old arrived with the rest of his team-mates at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night but was then left out of the hosts’ squad altogether.

Explaining Saka’s absence, Gunners boss Arteta said: ‘He had to come off against Manchester City three days ago, he was feeling something.

‘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.’

Saka’s absence was one of five changes from the Arsenal side that frustrated Manchester City at the weekend, with Thomas Partey making his first Premier League start since late August.

England star Saka arriving with the Arsenal team at the Emirates Stadium

Saka arrived with the Arsenal team but was not selected (Picture: Getty)

Declan Rice, Gabriel Jesus, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho all drop to the bench, with Emile Smith Rowe, Leandro Trossard, Reiss Nelson and Oleksandr Zinchenko offered starts against Luton. 

For Rob Edwards’ side, who lost 2-1 at Tottenham on Saturday, Jordan Clark and Daiki Hashioka both return to the starting line-up, while 16-year-old schoolboy Christian Chigozie features on the bench.

Discussing Chigozie’s presence on the Luton bench, Edwards said: ‘We think highly of him. He’s a great lad and we think he has got a big future.

‘That shows you where we are at [in terms of injuries]. Four teenagers and two goalkeepers on the bench. Slightly different to Arsenal’s bench I think.’

Arsenal legend Martin Keown, meanwhile, defended Arteta’s decision to ring the changes for the visit of relegation-battlers Luton Town.

‘It’s a three-game week which we rarely see,’ he said. ‘We’re playing one of the teams at the foot of the table so they’ve got confidence.

‘It’s not disrespecting the opposition but the players coming in have to prove the manager right.’

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