The 28-year-old, who has been shaking off an ankle injury, played just under an hour in the Gunners’ 3-0 Carabao Cup win over AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday and could feature in the club’s Premier League match.
Arteta said: “Yes it was [the plan to play him for as long as we did] . He hasn’t played a lot of minutes. The rhythm of matches is nothing like the training session. He’s so willing to play and I think he was very efficient tonight.
“We didn’t think [it was a risk], that’s why we made the decision to play him. There’s always a risk when you play a match or when you have a training session with the intensity that we train. We believed it was the right thing to do and he was really pushing for it. I think it worked out well.”
Alexandre Lacazette, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah all scored in the fixture to send them through to the fourth round, where they will face Leeds.
The Gunners’ cup season may be going to plan so far but their league campaign got off to a shaky start meaning they are currently 13th with two wins and three losses. But Arteta has said he is pleased his team can take this winning momentum into the upcoming derby.
He said: “Confidence rises, competition brings the best out of you when you have difficult moments and the boys have managed to win three games in a row. So credit to how they have handled the situation and now they are obviously looking forward to playing on Sunday in what is our biggest game of the season.”
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