The Emirates Stadium was bounced at the final whistle, relieved at the victory which was so nearly a defeat with Alejandro Garnacho scoring in the 88th goal only to see it ruled out for offside.
Saka was again quiet by his standards, but should have put the Gunners in the lead before the dramatic finale, firing straight at Andre Onana from point-blank range with the goal gaping.
"I would have preferred that Bukayo puts it in the net a lot earlier," Arteta said of the injury-time goals.
"A team needs different tools to win matches. I think we reacted well in the first half. That set the tone and brought some calmness."
Arteta congratulated his team for controlling their emotions and staying focused amid a frantic finale, and refused to be drawn on the VAR decisions.
He added "The emotion at the end is why we are all in this industry, to work hard and earn the chance to live those moments. Extremely proud of the team.
"Both VAR decisions can be viewed in different ways but I think the performance of the team overall deserves the win.
"I love the mentality and determination the team shows. We made a hard life for ourselves by giving the first goal away, but overall I have pride in the team for what they want to do all the time.
"The equaliser was a great goal and it is the reaction you want."