Bukayo Saka unhappy with Mikel Arteta over decision against RC Lens

  • Bukayo Saka scored and assisted in Arsenal's 6-0 win over Lens
  • Winger was substituted in the second half
  • Saka said post-match he wanted to play the full 90 minutes

Arsenal FC v RC Lens: Group B - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Arsenal FC v RC Lens: Group B - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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After a spectacular display in Arsenal's triumphant 6-0 win over RC Lens, Bukayo Saka finds himself at odds with Mikel Arteta over an early substitution.

Arsenal secured a resounding qualification for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, with a convincing and confident performance against RC Lens on Wednesday night. 

Kai Havertz gave Arsenal an early lead, followed by goals from Gabriel Jesus, Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli within the first 28 minutes, solidifying a dominant first-half performance. Martin Odegaard extended the lead to 5-0 just before half-time, while Jorginho sealed the night with a penalty.

Bukayo Saka unhappy with Mikel Arteta over decision against RC Lens

There was an injury concern for Saka during the game following a rough challenge, but the 22-year-old quickly recovered to assist Gabriel Jesus and net a goal himself. The winger's contributions mean he has now recorded seven goal contributions in his first five Champions League appearances.

Despite his impactful performance, Arteta substituted Saka after 65 minutes, with Arsenal comfortably ahead. When asked about being substituted early in the game, Saka admitted that he was not happy to leave the pitch early.

Saka said: "Not really! I wanted to play 90 minutes if I'm going to be honest,” he told TNT Sports. “I understand his decision and now I'm focused on Wolves and doing my best in that game as well."

Saka has become a target for defenders this season but he got past Lens' defence in what was like an effortless victory for the Gunners as they secured top spot in Group B. Additionally, Arsenal managed to substitute Declan Rice, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Takehiro Tomiyasu early in the game, with the contest already decided in the first half. 

Arsenal will turn their attention to domestic action this weekend against Wolves on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium.