Arsenal leave Alex Runarsson out of Europa League squad with Martin Odegaard added

Arsenal leave Alex Runarsson out of Europa League squad with Martin Odegaard added

Runarsson left out

Arsenal have left Alex Runarsson out of their Europa League squad ahead of the knockout rounds of the competition, in which they are set to face Benfica in the last-32.

Following the mid-season departures of Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Mesut Ozil – the latter pair of whom had been left out of the squad in October – had seen Arsenal gain two places to fill.

The return of Gabriel Martinelli from injury covered one of the spots, though the Gunners of course also added both Mat Ryan from Brighton and Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan last month.

Therefore, once again, Arsenal were over capacity by a single player. It has since been revealed that their Icelandic, third-choice keeper has taken the hit. Bernd Leno and the aforementioned Ryan will cover goalkeeping responsibilities in Europe, with one of the home-grown youth keepers set to fill the third-choice spot.

Goalkeeping conundrum for Villa

With Bernd Leno suspended for their match against Aston Villa, Arsenal will be sweating over the fitness of Mat Ryan. The Australian international shot-stopper was brought in as a backup to the German, but has missed the last couple games due to injury.

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

The lack of confidence in Runarsson derives from a number of poor performances since his arrival from Dijon in the summer. The 25-year-old has made a number of high-profile errors, including letting a Riyad Mahrez free-kick slip through his hands in the League Cup quarter-final.

He also came on after Leno’s sending off versus Wolves on Tuesday, and kicked the ball out for a corner under minimal pressure. If Runarsson is to start on Saturday, there will be added encouragement for Villa to test the Iceland international.

The latest on Mat Ryan’s fitness as Arsenal prepare for Villa clash without no.1/Arteta on Luiz red card appeal

Why Martin Odegaard and Mat Ryan signings provides further optimism of recruitment change at Arsenal

This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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