Arsenal submitted their squad for the Europa League knockout stages and Mikel Arteta has made a big call.
The Europa League is Arsenal’s only realistic chance of silverware this season. We’re currently 10th in the league and securing a top-four spot will not be easy, especially after results like yesterday.
The easiest route to next season’s Champions League is through winning the Europa League, and Arteta has to get his squad right. There is no big bomb like last time, but the Arsenal boss has dropped one player from the squad.
Runar Alex Runarsson has been left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad for the round of 32. (UEFA)
The Iceland international was brought in last summer as a replacement to Emi Martinez. The Argentine left big shoes to fill, and Runarsson – sadly – hasn’t quite done enough to secure a place for himself.
The former Dijon man’s howler against Manchester City in the League Cup in December cost us that game. Arteta clearly lost trust in him after that fixture, and his decision to include 20-year-old James Hilson in the squad over Runarsson made that pretty clear.
The Gunners boss signed Mathew Ryan from Brighton last month to cover for Bernd Leno.
The Aussie international has taken Runarsson’s place in the squad, and he is a lot more reliable. Ryan has tons of experience under his belt, and if needed, he can come in and do a job in place of Leno to help us go all the way in the competition.