'This was the fixture for Arteta to rotate'

Expert view banner

Mikel Arteta made five changes at Emirates Stadium for the visit of Luton, the most the manager has made in the league this season. It was risky but it paid off.

Arteta has talked of trusting his squad this season and two Hale Enders got them over the line with Emile Smith Rowe picking up man of the match and Arsenal’s other academy graduate, Reiss Nelson, playing in place of Bukayo Saka. It wasn’t as thrilling as wins in previous weeks but it was a comfortable three points.

The icing on the cake was for the Arsenal manager who managed to give Saka the night off to prevent further injury, rest Declan Rice for an hour and give more minutes to Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko who are returning from injury. It was a good night.

Considering Arsenal's run in on paper, this was the fixture for Arteta to rotate.

The Gunners were scarred by a 3-3 draw with Southampton at home last season. It was a fixture they were expected to win but effectively ended their title challenge.

That would have crossed his mind. Now the squad is much stronger a year on from that Friday night draw and Arsenal can handle injuries in a way they couldn’t last year. The gamble worked and now they are back at the top of the table with the pressure on Liverpool (who face Sheffield United on Thursday).

There's one thing to keep an eye on for Arteta too. Premier League rules state that a player will receive a two-game suspension if they pick up 10 yellow cards in their first 32 matches of the season. Kai Havertz has eight yellows in the league. If he picks up two more it will be a big blow to lose him in the run in, given how he has performed in 2024.

Arsenal travel to Brighton on Saturday for a 17:30 BST kick-off.

An image detailing how to follow your Premier League team on BBC Sport: "On the app? Tap the bell icon to get news about your club sent to you. Signed in on a browser? Hit 'Follow' to stay up to date.