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Mikel Gives Updates on Mat Ryan Injury and who could be starting on goal against Aston Villa

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Mikel Arteta is hopeful Mat Ryan will be in contention to feature against Aston Villa on Saturday, but has backed Alex Runarsson to deputise for the suspended Bernd Leno if required.

Arsenal will be without their undisputed No.1 after the Germany international was sent-off for a deliberate handball offence during Tuesday’s calamitous defeat against Wolves. Ryan was signed on loan from Brighton until the end of the season during the January transfer window but missed the trip to Molineux with a muscular injury. Leno’s dismissal, therefore, afforded an opportunity to Runarsson who hadn’t featured since his error-strewn display in December’s Carabao Cup defeat against Manchester City and on Wednesday suffered the ignominy of being axed from Arsenal’s updated Europa League squad. The Iceland international played the final 20 minutes against Wolves with his side down to 10 men and on the prospect of him featuring against Villa at the weekend, Arteta said: ‘He works really hard.  ‘He has fit in really well around the dressing room. He is a really nice boy, really humble, and he needs to be away from all the comments and focus on his work, focus on improving. ‘People expect when you go out there for you to give your best and perform at the top level – and if you don’t you are going to get criticism. ‘You know that, before you join the club, that you are exposed all the time to critics and, as well, if you do really well everybody is going to be praising more than at any other club. You have to be able, if you want to play here, to handle that pressure. Runar Alex Runarsson played the final 20 minutes against Wolves after Arsenal’s No.1 Bernd Leno was sent off.

Leno was sent off against Wolves

‘I think he knew and he expected that, and he needs to handle that. We are here to support him, he has played some games already here, he has played some good games. He had a difficult game against Manchester City. The other night he came on and I think he did well.’ On the likelihood of Ryan being in contention to make his debut, meanwhile,  Arteta added: ‘He has not been available to train yet, and Alex is available, so we will have the choice between the two of them for the weekend.

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Ryan and Alex Runnarsson during a training session

‘If Mat is able to train, and they are both fit, we will have a decision to make. If Mat is not fit, obviously Alex will be in goal. ‘This is football and these things happen. That’s why when we allowed Matt Macey to go, we knew that we had to get somebody else because we knew these things can happen. ‘Unfortunately when you least need them, it actually happens. So we are more protected now, having Mat as well in the squad and let’s see if he’s fit. But for now, Alex is fit as well.’

Mat Ryan during his first Arsenal Interview

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Livestream: Arsenal vs Villarreal CF

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Villareal Is Defending Everything Arsenal is throwing their way, Will Arsenal break their wall an bang in goals, it a question that needed an urgent response from the Gunners..

Livestream the game 📺:

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Arsenal vs Villarreal – Line-Up, Formations Kick Off Time Confirmed

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It’s One Of The Most Entertaining Game Of The Season, One That Will Renew Arsenal Champions League Hope Next Season, Or Mar It.

Team News Is In:

Arsenal FC:

Villarreal CF:

More To Follow….

 

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Just In: Arteta backs “hungry” Auba, Emery wary of his former “killer”

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Mikel Arteta says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “hungry to do something” after returning to full fitness following a bad encounter with malaria.

After ending the last campaign as the club’s FA Cup-winning hero, the 31-year-old club captain, fresh from signing a big-money contract extension, was supposed to be the talismanic figurehead as his manager’s project stepped up a gear. It hasn’t worked out that way.

While 15 goals and 3 assists are nothing to sniff at, our striker’s goal tally is way down on what Gunners fans have been used to since he joined from Dortmund in January 2018.

With teammates not exactly picking up the slack, the lack of killer instinct has cost the team dearly on the domestic front and hopes of qualifying for the Champions League now hang by a thread.

While a number of factors have played a part in Auba’s hit-and-miss performances – off-field issues and a lack of creativity around him certainly haven’t helped – Arteta believes his striker is in the mood to put things right.

“You know Auba’s character, he’s someone really lively, always joking, always smiling,” said the boss ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg with Villarreal.

“He had a difficult season so many of us as a club and a staff try to support him as much as possible the way that the team did as well.

“When he had some personal issues they were right behind him. As I said before football gives you an opportunity. He’s in a good place right now and he’s very hungry to do something.”

He added: “Everything affects but you have to come through that. It’s about how you react to the difficulties in your career which you’re going to have at some stage.

“He had some this season and it’s about showing the direction and the capacity to overcome that.”

The importance of delivering on the pitch tonight isn’t lost on Aubameyang. In fairness, he’s done pretty well in big games since he joined and this is certainly one of those.

Reflecting on the job at hand, he said: “I am really excited to play this game tomorrow because it is a big game and it’s a big moment for all of us. Hopefully, we deliver again.

“For sure it will be one of [the biggest games of my Arsenal career]. Definitely this season is the most important game and we know that we have to win this game.

“It is a big opportunity for us to get to the final, we play at home and this is maybe the biggest game of my Arsenal career.”

Having worked with him for 18 months, former boss Unai Emery is certainly wary of the striker leading Arsenal’s attack.

“Aubameyang is a killer,” said the Villarreal coach on Wednesday. 

“He was, he is and he will always be. He has been through a process of being out of the team because of the illness he has had but he is back.

“He is there to work, to defend the team and give everything for the team, hoping he can perform at the top level and if that happens he is going to be very difficult to stop.

 

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