Mikel Arteta says Bukayo Saka wanted to play against AFC Wimbledon, and he believes the winger is looking better with each match.

Football - 2021 / 2022 Premier League - Burnley vs. Arsenal Martin Odegaard of Arsenal celebrates with Bukayo Saka after he curls a free kick around the Burnley wall to put his team 1-0 ahead in the first half, at Turf Moor. COLORSPORT/ALAN MARTIN
Burnley vs. Arsenal Martin Odegaard of Arsenal celebrates with Bukayo Saka after he curls a free-kick around the Burnley wall to put his team 1-0 ahead in the first half, at Turf Moor. COLORSPORT / ALAN MARTIN

Bukayo Saka made a late substitute appearance for Arsenal against AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday night, and he made an immediate impact.

From the second Saka stepped onto the pitch, the attack looked more threatening. He was involved in the buildup to two goals in the following four minutes of action, even if he didn’t get the goal or assist for either.

During the dying moments of the game, Saka went close with a couple of shots of his own. It was undoubtedly Arsenal’s best period of the match.

Like with Partey, some fans questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to use Saka at all, with the North London derby at the weekend. But the Arsenal manager says the player wanted the minutes to continue to build his match fitness.

“He finished the game against Burnley much better than he did the week before,” Arteta said. “Again (like Partey), he was seeking minutes – he wanted to play some minutes to get some match fitness. Again, I think when he came on, he looked really strong.”

There’s no doubt that Saka is getting better as the games go by, but the other question is whether he should be playing on the right more often.

That was where he entered the fray against Wimbledon, and it’s where we’ve seen some of his best performances for Arsenal. It’s rather odd that he’s instead been used on the left lately, particularly given Pepe could play on the left.

Arteta managed to get the likes of Partey and Saka through Wednesday’s match without any setbacks. Now he needs to decide how he’s going to use them against Spurs.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.