Isn’t it frustrating to read that whilst the Arsenal first team are struggling to find the back of the net, Flo Balogun is scoring goals in France? Heck, even Nuno Tavares is scoring goals too. Apparently he’s been superb so far this season. Do I think Mikel Arteta should have kept either or both at Arsenal instead of sending them out on loan? Yes and no, yes because after Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah is our only other striker so we could do with Balogun on Thursday night but no because he’s experiencing exactly what he needed. Similarly, Nuno Tavares was struggling in the first team but a great year in France is just what he needs to regain some of the confidence he possibly lost. Saying that, I’m sure he’d have been good enough to face the teams we have drawn in the group stage of the Europa League but playing every now and again wouldn’t do him any good whatsoever.
The Europa League Cup, whilst annoying because of the Thursday/Sunday fixtures it brings, is a competition which I think Mikel Arteta will take seriously. Any trophy is always a bonus these days but because this one offers Champions League football to the winners, it’s more important than the two domestic cups. Of course it’d be great to win all three but let’s be honest, our squad isn’t big enough to do that. Or at least I don’t think it is.
Already we’ve seen Thomas Partey, Mo Elneny and Oleksandr Zinchenko suffer an injury and it seems ESR has suffered the same fate too. I’d imagine Elneny and Smith Rowe were in Arteta’s Europa League plans so what are his alternative options for Thursday?
Well, here is the Europa League squad in full which I’ve nicked from Jeorge Bird.
Arsenal Europa League senior list:
Goalkeepers: Ramsdale, Turner, Hillson
Defenders: White, Gabriel, Saliba, Holding, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Tierney
Midfielders: Partey, Odegaard, Elneny, Vieira, Lokonga, Xhaka, M. Smith
Forwards: Jesus, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Nelson, Marquinhos
It is anticipated that the following players will also be on the B-List:
Awe, Bandeira, Butler-Oyedeji, Cirjan, Cottrell, Edwards, Foran, Graczyk, Henry-Francis, Hillson, Jeffcott, Monlouis, Sagoe Jr, Sweet, Taylor-Hart, Vigar, Cozier-Duberry, Ibrahim.
Elneny being listed in the squad would suggest that he’s expected to return before the end of the year which I really hope is the case because we need him. ESR too.
The B-list, whilst it’s good to see some of the under 21’s on the list, I don’t think many, if any of them will get game time because they have fixtures of their own to get through and one of those is tonight against Dutch side Feyernoord in the first round of the Premier League International Cup and next week, they have a fixture either side of of match against PSV Eindhoven and I’d imagine that’s how the fixtures continue throughout the season too.
I’m not sure where Reiss Nelson is in his recovery but if fit, I think he’ll have a big part to play over the coming Thursday nights. Marquinhos, Cedric, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Nketiah, Holding and Turner too. Not not necessarily all at once, but at some stage. Perhaps Matt Smith too.
See you in the comments.