Arsenal Europa League squad revealed as Mikel Arteta makes big Runarsson and Odegaard decisions – Football.London

Arsenal Europa League squad revealed as Mikel Arteta makes big Runarsson and Odegaard decisions – Football.London

Arsenal have confirmed their squad for the Europa League knockout phases.

The list submitted for the group stages featured both Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac who have since left the club to join Schalke in the January transfer window.

As a result two places for foreign players opened up within the squad as UEFA rules dictate that clubs can have no more than 17 non-homegrown players in their 25-man list.

It is this rule that saw Sokratis and Mesut Ozil fail to make the cut when the original list was announced in October.

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This opened up spaces for new signings Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard to be included in the Gunners squad.

However, Gabriel Martinelli was not featured in the group stages squad as the Brazilian was suffering from a long-term knee injury that he only returned from in late December.

His return means that Arsenal once again have a surplus of foreign players in their ranks and as a result Runar Alex Runarsson misses out this time.

The Iceland goalkeeper played four times in the Europa League groups stages, but a string of shaky displays has seen Mikel Arteta lose faith in him.

Runar Alex Runarsson in action for Arsenal against Wolves (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Mat Ryan, who arrived on loan from Brighton last month, will now be second choice goalkeeper behind Bernd Leno.

The Gunners also have youngsters Arthur Okonkwo, Karl Hein and James Hilson to chose from in the goalkeeping position as UEFA rules allow clubs to submit a separate list of homegrown under-21 players who can be selected in the competition.

Included on that list are highly rated youngsters Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez, Ben Cottrell and many others.

Runarsson is still however, in contention to play for Arsenal in the Premier League against Aston Villa on Saturday after Leno was sent off against Wolves on Tuesday night, with Ryan facing a race against time to be fit.

Speaking after the match Arteta revealed the Australian has been out with a muscle injury could keep him out of the trip to Villa Park.

“He had a muscular issue in the last two days he hasn’t been able to train and hopefully we can get him back in the last few days,” said the Gunners boss.

Arsenal will be keen to continue their fine record in the Europa League after becoming the only side to register a 100% record in the competition’s group stages this season.

They face Benfica in the Round of 32. However the nature of the fixture is currently in doubt due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel between the UK and Portugal.

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Full Arsenal squad:

Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Mat Ryan, Karl Hein, James Hillson, Arthur Okwonko

Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Cedric, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, David Luiz, Joel Lopez, Zane Monlouis

Midfielders: Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka, Dani Ceballos, Martin Odegaard, Willian, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe, Granit Xhaka, Ryan Alebiosu, Ben Cottrell, Miguel Azeez, Omari Giraud-Hutchinson, Charlie Patino

Forwards: Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Folarin Balogun, Jordan McEneff

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