Arsenal leave Mavropanos and Bramall out of Europa League squad as Suarez is included

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Arsenal have submitted their updated squad list for the knockout stages of the Europa League, with Konstantinos Mavropanos and Cohen Bramall being left out.

The Gunners have added January arrival Denis Suarez to their squad and, as a consequence, had to leave a non-homegrown player out, with Mavropanos the individual to make way. Bramall, meanwhile, was also left out of Arsenal’s squad for the group stages.

Uefa rules state that teams should name eight homegrown senior players in their squad, but the departure of Emiliano Martinez to Reading on loan means that Arsenal only named seven. Therefore, they had to name a reduced senior squad list of 24 players.

Mavropanos isn’t eligible for the B-List, for under-21 players, as to be included on that list players have to have been at the club for two whole years.

Arsenal’s seven homegrown players are: Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, Deyan Iliev, Rob Holding, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson.

Ainsley Matland-Niles is on the B-list due to still being under 21 at the start of the season, while Matteo Guendouzi is on the senior list as he only joined the club last year.

With regards to young professionals, Jordan McEneff is also not included due to the length of time he has been at the club.

Arsenal’s Europa League squad:

Goalkeepers: Petr Cech, Bernd Leno, Deyan Iliev, Arthur Okonkwo*

Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Laurent Koscielny, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi, Carl Jenkinson, Sead Kolasinac, Daniel Ballard*, Tolaji Bola*, Zech Medley*, Joseph Olowu*, Tobi Omole*, Jordi Osei-Tutu*, Julio Pleguezuelo*, Dominic Thompson*

Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles*, Alex Iwobi, Denis Suarez, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Robbie Burton*, Charlie Gilmour*, Ben Sheaf*, Nathan Tormey*, Gedion Zelalem*, Harry Clarke*, Trae Coyle*, Joe Willock*

Forwards: Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Danny Welbeck, Eddie Nketiah*, Emile Smith Rowe*, Xavier Amaechi*, Tyreece John-Jules*, Bukayo Saka*

*- B List

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Report – Amaechi impresses and Mkhitaryan features but Arsenal U23s’ clash with West Ham is abandoned due to fog

Premier League 2

Arsenal A West Ham United A (game abandoned at half-time due to adverse weather conditions)

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West Ham United may not have been able to stop Arsenal U23s tonight but the fog ultimately did, with this Premier League 2 clash being called off at half-time.

Arsenal had assembled a 3-0 lead courtesy of efforts from Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Konstantinos Mavropanos, but the result won’t stand, with the referee making the decision to abandon the game as visibility became increasingly difficult.

It is a frustrating outcome for Freddie Ljungberg’s side, who played some sublime football and gave a run-out to the returning Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the decision was the correct one and this game will have to played again at some stage.

Ljungberg named a hugely exciting attacking quartet of Xavier Amaechi, Mkhitaryan, Bukayo Saka and Nketiah, while Mavropanos started in defence despite featuring as a substitute for the first-team against Manchester City yesterday.

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Subs: Okonkwo, Ballard, Medley, Olayinka, Coyle

It took some time for the game to spark into life, with the two sides both rather cautious in the early exchanges.

However, Arsenal gradually started to seize control and it became apparent that they could cause West Ham numerous problems down the opponent’s left flank, with Jordi Osei-Tutu and Amaechi pushing forwards with regularity.

A warning was served when Osei-Tutu delivered a superb cross into the box but Joe Willock was unable to latch onto it.

Defender Dominic Thompson was then booked for a rash challenge as he looked to prevent a West Ham counter-attack, but soon Arsenal were getting forwards down the right again, with Osei-Tutu’s cross finding Saka on this occasion, but the winger’s effort was blocked.

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Mkhitaryan had shown some signs of rustiness early on, but the Armenia international forced a save with an effort and then Nketiah did likewise.

Arsenal were firmly in control but there were some occasional moments of alarm, such as when Mavropanos was caught out and Pleguezuelo had to make good use of his speed to race across and cut out the danger.

At the other end the young Gunners were getting increasingly closer to taking the lead as they hit the post.

Eventually they did manage to find the breakthrough and it was Eddie Nketiah who got the goal following good work from Amaechi. It was Nketiah’s first goal since November 3rd, but, with the game having been abandoned, his wait will go on. However, in mitigation, as he has been flitting between the first-team and U23 squads, the striker hasn’t featured very much at either level.

Then came another goal for Arsenal, and it came from the right side again, with Osei-Tutu crossing for Willock, who steered the ball home.

Saka then hit the crossbar and Arsenal added a third in the closing stages of the first half, with Mavropanos getting the goal, although by that point it had become increasingly difficult to identify the players due to the ever-worsening conditions.

The referee suspended play for ten minutes before the second half was due to start and then the game was officially called off, unsurprisingly so given that one of the goals wasn’t even visible.

This was certainly a rare occasion, and Arsenal will be disappointed to not be able to have the three points on their record.

It wasn’t an entirely wasted exercise, though, with Osei-Tutu and Amaechi further enhancing their reputations with excellent first-half displays.

Willock and Nketiah also caught the eye, while Charlie Gilmour played some slick passes in midfield.

Arsenal are back in action when they face Tottenham Hotspur away next week.

Loan report – Martinez excellent for Reading; Nelson and Nwakali feature

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Emiliano Martinez kept a clean sheet and produced a man-of-the-match display as Reading drew 0-0 with Aston Villa.

Reiss Nelson was brought on in the 61st minute as Hoffenheim drew 1-1 with Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Takuma Asano played 70 minutes as Hannover lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig, for whom Emile Smith Rowe missed out through injury.

Calum Chambers played the full game as Fulham lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace.

Krystian Bielik played the whole game and was booked as Charlton Athletic lost 1-0 to Fleetwood Town.

Kelechi Nwakali played 84 minutes and was booked as Porto B beat Penafiel 2-0.

David Ospina was an unused substitute as Napoli beat Sampdoria 3-0.

Matt Macey was an unused substitute as Plymouth Argyle beat Peterborough United 1-0.

 

Smith Rowe can take his game to next level with RB Leipzig loan

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In contrast to previous years it was a very quiet January transfer window in terms of Arsenal youngsters heading out on loan, with Emile Smith Rowe the only player to do so.

The hugely talented Hale End graduate will spend the rest of the season with RB Leipzig, joining the growing crop of English youngsters to test themselves in the Bundesliga.

Smith Rowe will hope to replicate the success that his Arsenal team-mate Reiss Nelson has enjoyed at Hoffenheim in the first half of the campaign, and, intriguingly, the pair are set to face each other on February 25th.

Earlier this season Smith Rowe stated that it was his ambition to make his Premier League debut this campaign. Injuries have dictated that he will have to wait to fulfil that aim, but he will instead gain some extremely valuable experience in Germany.

The 18-year-old’s versatility – he can operate effectively out wide or as an attacking midfielder – should make him a useful asset for Ralf Rangnick’s side.

In addition, Smith Rowe will join a talented squad of players and should be tested extensively so that he can develop the defensive side of his game.

After starring in pre-season Smith Rowe made quite an impact for Arsenal in cup competitions in the first half of the campaign – he made six appearances, scoring three goals.

Injuries have halted his progress in recent months, but he is now fit again and ready to finish the season strongly in a new environment.

Had he remained with the Gunners then he may well have been involved in the Europa League but with the club out of the FA Cup and Denis Suarez having arrived on loan from Barcelona, further opportunities would probably have been limited.

If all goes well this could prove to be an inspired move for Smith Rowe and should prepare him for pre-season, when he will look to truly establish himself in the first-team squad at Arsenal.

 

James Olayinka signs professional contract with Arsenal

Midfielder James Olayinka has become the latest Arsenal youngster to sign professional terms.

The 18-year-old, who usually operates as a deep-lying midfielder but can also play out wide, has stepped up to become an important player for the U23s this season, making 12 appearances at that level.

A product of the club’s Hale End academy, Olayinka is not especially strong physically but he is very energetic and has trained with the first-team. He featured in the FA Youth Cup final defeat to Chelsea last season.

With Olayinka having signed professional terms, there are six remaining second-year scholars whose futures remain uncertain – Folarin Balogun, Mark McGuinness, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Matthew Smith, Bayli Spencer-Adams and Zak Swanson.

Sam Greenwood signs first professional contract with Arsenal

Sam Greenwood has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal after turning 17.

The hugely talented youngster, who can play as a striker, an attacking midfielder or out wide, joined Arsenal from Sunderland last summer.

Greenwood, an England youth international, has scored six goals in 12 league appearances for Arsenal at U18 level, while he has also featured in the FA Youth Cup.

The next objective for Greenwood will be to make his debut for Arsenal U23s before the conclusion of the campaign.

Despite signing professional terms, Greenwood will not be eligible to play for the first-team in the Europa League in the near future, with competition rules stating that youngsters must have been registered with a club for two whole years to be eligible for the B-list.

Arsenal goalkeeper Daniel Barden signs for Norwich City

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Arsenal goalkeeper Daniel Barden has signed for Norwich City.

Barden, who signed scholarship terms with Arsenal in 2017, hasn’t played for the Gunners all season and featured for Norwich U18s as a trialist earlier in the campaign in a 7-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Last night Barden was in goal as Norwich were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 loss against Preston North End.

A deal was done for the 18-year-old in November and he has a player profile on the Canaries’ official website, while he has been given the squad number 81.

Barden was named on the bench for Arsenal U18s as a schoolboy and made seven appearances at that level, while he was a substitute for both legs of the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea last season.

The Hale End product also made the bench for the U23s but the continued development of Arthur Okonkwo and the arrival of Karl Hein pushed him further down the pecking order.