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

Mat Ryan could return to action tomorrow

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.


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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Godsgift C Ejiama

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