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Mikel Arteta to recall Arsenal signing for Sporting CP encounter as Gabriel Jesus dilemma emerges

Mikel Arteta to recall Arsenal signing for Sporting CP encounter as Gabriel Jesus dilemma emerges

It’s probable that Mikel Arteta will have the advantage of rotating his Arsenal team for the crucial Europa League clash against Sporting CP on Thursday.

After a balanced 2-2 draw in the first leg of the round of 16 tie last week, Arteta knows that a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium won’t suffice for advancement since the away goals rule has been removed. Thus, the team must secure a win to secure their spot in the quarter-finals.

As the Gunners require goals to progress, the availability of Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard is a significant advantage. 

Both players were sidelined in the previous match against Lisbon, and their absence, along with Eddie Nketiah, was noted by Arteta following the game. “We lost a bit of threat today with the four players we’re missing in our front line,” he said in the post-match press conference.

Within a week, the Arsenal manager’s options for his forward line have gone from being restricted to a potential selection dilemma regarding who to choose as the central striker. Leandro Trossard provided three assists in the recent game against Fulham, while Gabriel Jesus looked sharp in a brief 12-minute appearance as a substitute.

However, it is worth noting that Jesus is still regaining his match fitness after being absent for three months due to a knee injury. Therefore, it would be unexpected if he were to be included in the starting lineup for the crucial Europa League match on Thursday.

As Arteta ponders over his options for Arsenal’s striker position, SportsDias has examined other potential changes the manager might consider, especially given that the team will also be playing a Premier League match against Crystal Palace just three days after the Europa League fixture.

Kiwior recall

Jakub Kiwior may have been unfortunate to miss out on a place in Arsenal’s matchday squad for their recent game against Fulham. 

Due to Premier League regulations, Arteta was only allowed to select 20 players, and with Gabriel Jesus returning to the team, the £21m January signing, despite being present at Craven Cottage, was left out.

However, the rules are distinct for the Europa League, and as Arsenal will be allowed to name a 23-man squad with up to 12 substitutes, it’s probable that Kiwior will be recalled. 

He could even make his Emirates debut since he made his first competitive appearance for the club in the first leg of the Europa League match.

Youngsters involved

Mohamed Elneny’s absence from the match means that 23 senior Arsenal players are available for selection to play against Sporting CP. However, this number may decrease to 21 if Nketiah and Karl Hein are unable to play.

In such a scenario, Arteta may have the chance to name two promising youngsters on the bench, as Arsenal’s updated squad list on UEFA.com includes Zach Awe, Henry Jeffcott, Zane Monlouis, James Lannin-Sweet, Reuell Walters, Mauro Bandeira, Catalin Cirjan, Ben Cottrell, Jack Henry-Francis, Bradley Ibrahim, Joel Ideho, Zine-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Smith, and Charles Sagoe Jr.

As it is typical to have two goalkeepers on the bench for a Europa League match, James Hillson could be the third-choice option again if Hein is not fit for selection. If Nketiah is deemed unfit to play, Arteta may call up Amario Cozier-Duberry.

Stars return as Saka rested

Arsenal had a strong bench against Fulham, with Jorginho and Emile Smith Rowe being unused substitutes. It’s unclear whether this was a decision made with Thursday’s match in mind, but the pair are among several players hoping to start.

Fabio Vieira has been a regular in the competition and was praised by Arteta for his performance in Lisbon. Kieran Tierney is pushing for a start, despite being at risk of suspension. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Rob Holding are also in contention, while Bukayo Saka may be rested. The final decision on the starting lineup will be revealed an hour before kick-off.

Mikel Arteta to recall Arsenal signing for Sporting CP encounter as Gabriel Jesus dilemma emerges

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