3 positives & negatives as Arsenal go top with Luton Town win

• Smith Rowe shines

• Saka injury concern

• Squad depth on show

Arsenal FC v Luton Town - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Luton Town - Premier League / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages
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Arsenal comfortably beat Luton Town 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium as they, at least temporarily, returned to the top of the Premier League table.

While the scoreline may not have been as high as Arsenal have often enjoyed at home in 2024, this game represented total control for the Gunners, and the result was never in doubt.

Mikel Arteta made four changes to the side that earned a point away to Manchester City last weekend, making the performance and resulting win even more impressive.

The result means that Arsenal will be top of the Premier League table until at least Thursday evening, when Liverpool host Sheffield United for a chance to retake top spot.

Here is a look at the positives and negatives from the game which kept Arsenal's title hopes well and truly alive.

Positive #1: Emile Smith Rowe takes opportunity with both hands

Daiki Hashioka, Emile Smith Rowe
Arsenal FC v Luton Town - Premier League / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

Arsenal academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe was one of those given a rare start in yesterday's game, which was just his third in the league this season.

The 23-year-old has been plagued by injuries in recent years and has seen his development stunted as a result, which has led to rumours of a possible summer transfer for the star.

Having been given a rare start against Luton, Smith Rowe seized his opportunity by putting in a man-of-the-match performance.

He had an assist and an exquisite pre-assist in the game, while his overall work rate was admired by fans with him clearly having a point to prove.

Smith Rowe without a doubt showed his quality, and reminded fans, and hopefully Arteta, that he still has a big role to play for the club moving forward.

Negative #1: Bukayo Saka fitness concern

Bukayo Saka
Manchester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

One player who did not feature against Luton, and was in fact not in the squad at all, was Bukayo Saka.

He was a doubt ahead of the game, having been substituted with a seeming issue in the Manchester City draw, but few expected him to miss out entirely.

Speaking before the Luton game, Arteta had said: “Saka wasn’t with the national team because he was injured.

"It was a muscular issue and then he trained very little, then he played and we had to take him off because the risk of reinjuring the player was pretty high.

"You have to manage a player like Bukayo.”

These injury fears have been heightened given his absence from the squad to face Luton, but Arteta did sound optimistic when speaking about the 22-year-old.

He said: "He was close but he felt again something in a very similar area against City and it was a very short turnaround. Hopefully, he can train today and be available for the weekend.”

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