• Arsenal have 27 points from 10 league games
  • The Gunners have qualified for Europa League's knockout stages
  • Arsenal's next game is against Southampton on Sunday

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has defended his decision to play Bukayo Saka in their latest win over PSV Eindhoven in Europa League.

Saka has started all but two games for Arsenal, missing just 179 minutes of club soccer this season.

While one would have expected Saka to be rested against PSV Eindhoven, Arteta included the player in his starting XI. Arsenal secured a 1-0 win, thanks to Granit Xhaka's winner and progressed to the Europa League's knockout stages.

A few minutes after Xhaka's goal, Arsenal faced a setback when Saka went down with an injury. The England national limped off the field and was replaced by Reiss Nelson. With the World Cup kicking off in a month, Gareth Southgate's England will closely monitor Saka's form and fitness.

After the game, Arteta confirmed that the injury wasn't serious and that Saka would be fine.

"He got a kick. He was limping a little bit, but hopefully, he will be alright," Arteta told reporters Thursday.

In a post-match conference, Arteta was asked if he should have rested Saka for the game at Emirates Stadium and the Arsenal boss replied, "Look at the top players in the world, they play 70 matches, every three days and make a difference and win the game. You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that."

"And if we start to put something different in the mind of a young player, I think we are making a huge mistake because then [he would] be like 'no, I don't play now, on astroturf I don't play'. I don't want that. I want them to be ruthless every three days. I want them knocking on my door [saying] I want to play, I want to win the game," added Arteta.

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal looks on prior to kick off of the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at London Stadium on May 01, 2022 in London, England. Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The 21-year-old has netted five goals and four assists in 14 appearances for Arsenal this season. All his goals and assists have come in the Premier League and Saka's form has been key in Arsenal's fine start to the league season. The Gunners have won nine games out of their 10 outings and are four points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Arsenal's next game is on Sunday against Southampton in the league.