A clutch of players from Terry Burton’s U21 side were involved in first-team training at London Colney this morning ahead of tomorrow’s final Champions League group stage fixture away to Olympiacos.
Arsenal have already qualified for the Last 16 and, although it is not yet certain whether they will finish first or second in their group, manager Arsene Wenger is taking the opportunity to call upon several youngsters for tomorrow’s game, in a similar vein to Arsenal’s last two visits to Greece, which have both ended in defeat.
In addition to Abou Diaby, Laurent Koscielny (both thigh), Bacary Sagna (foot), Andre Santos (muscle strain) and Lukasz Fabianski (ankle), who are all still sidelined, many players who featured in the disappointing defeat to Swansea City at the weekend will be rested. Kieran Gibbs, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Jack Wilshere will all be kept at home, with just thirteen senior players poised to make the trip.
As a consequence, there were some younger faces involved in training today, with Zak Ansah, Elton Monteiro, Jernade Meade, Sead Hajrovic, Chuba Akpom, Martin Angha and James Shea all involved in proceedings. Serge Gnabry, Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel all remain injured, whilst Hector Bellerin, Jon Toral, Kristoffer Olsson, Damian Martinez and Thomas Eisfeld are not eligible for the Champions League.
Of those mentioned, Meade could be in for his first senior start at left-back, whilst Hajrovic, Akpom and Ansah are poised to receive their first call-ups to the squad.
subs: Mannone, Hajrovic, Squillaci, Angha, Rosicky, Akpom, Ansah.