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After a two-year wait Arsenal's forgotten man Carl Jenkinson finally has something to smile about

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After a two-year wait Arsenal’s forgotten man Carl Jenkinson finally has something to smile about

  • Carl Jenkinson last played for the Gunners in a League Cup tie in November 2016
  • He joined Birmingham on loan last season but made only seven appearances
  • The defender earned a second start in just over a week against Sporting Lisbon  

James Sharpe For Mail Online

You wait 701 days for an Arsenal appearance — and then two come along almost at once. There must be a London joke in there somewhere.

It’s something, at least, for Gunners full-back Carl Jenkinson to smile about. 

Jenkinson, the forgotten man for the best part of two years, earned a second start in just over a week as Unai Emery’s side took another step closer to qualification for the Europa League knock-out stages against Sporting Lisbon at the Emirates Stadium.

Carl Jenkinson has had to wait a long time for the chance to impress at Arsenal

Carl Jenkinson has had to wait a long time for the chance to impress at Arsenal

When Jenkinson had been announced in the squad for the previous group match against Sporting last month, where he was an unused substitute, fans had been so surprised to see his name that many admitted they had not realised he was still at the club.

Emery had even named Jenkinson as one of three players who could leave the club this summer alongside David Ospina and Joel Campbell. The other two did depart. Jenkinson, who has a contract until 2020, stayed on.

The 26-year-old returned last week in the Carabao Cup win against League One side Blackpool, his first appearance for Arsenal since another cup outing in November 2016.

The 26-year-old defender earned a second start in just over a week against Sporting Lisbon

The 26-year-old defender earned a second start in just over a week against Sporting Lisbon

The 26-year-old defender earned a second start in just over a week against Sporting Lisbon

This, though, was a step up. A European fixture, albeit with Arsenal’s passage through the group all but assured. His last one of those had also come two years ago this month in the Champions League against Paris-Saint Germain.

There’s not been much football in between either. Just nine games on loan at Birmingham last season, the former England international’s spell blighted by unfortunate injury and uninspiring form.

It was no surprise, then, to see Jenkinson ease himself into this one on the left side of the defence.

Jenkinson has not played much football recently but he was solid enough on Thursday

Jenkinson has not played much football recently but he was solid enough on Thursday

Jenkinson has not played much football recently but he was solid enough on Thursday

He had not much to do early on, but completed any necessary task with quiet efficiency. No messing around. Thump it into touch instead of trying an intricate turn. A solid tackle on Abdoulay Diaby earned an appreciative round of applause from the home fans. Safety first.

Ventures into the final third were few. Better to keep it simple. It’s been a while, after all. When he did get into crossing positions, there was so must rust on his delivery that they barely landed inside the penalty area.

But he was solid enough.

Jenkinson emerged in the second half ready to elaborate. When he saw a cleared corner arching towards him on the edge of the penalty area he was ready.

Jenkinson shakes hands with manager Unai Emery after being substituted in second half

Jenkinson shakes hands with manager Unai Emery after being substituted in second half

Jenkinson shakes hands with manager Unai Emery after being substituted in second half

Jenkinson took aim, swung so hard both feet left the ground, almost missed the ball completely but still managed to shin it straight to Matteo Guendouzi stood 15 yards behind him.

To his credit, he followed it up moment later with a strong block to deny Diaby again. Back to those basics.

He came off on the hour. Another ripple of applause. A smile. A high-five with Emery.

The Arsenal boss has, in the absence of injured first-choice Nacho Monreal, played three different players at left-back in his last three Premier League games. One of them was central midfielder Granit Xhaka. 

Did Jenkinson do enough to make it four this weekend when Arsenal play Wolves? Perhaps not, although the potential hamstring injury to Stephan Lichtsteiner will boost his chances. 

Regardless, you would think Jenkinson won’t have to wait another 701 days for his next game. 

 



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Arsenal ace Lucas Torreira drops transfer revelation that could WORRY Gunners fans

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Torreira joined the Gunners from Sampdoria lsat summer and impressed in his debut season at the Emirates.

The Uruguayan made 34 Premier League appearances as the Gunners finished fifth, scoring twice.

But he has now thrown his Arsenal future into doubt by admitting he wants to play in South America.

“One day, I want to play for Boca and wear their shirt,” Torreira said.

“It’s a dream I have had since I was a little kid. It’s no secret, my family and friends know that.

“I was with several friends [at the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid]. I did not think I was going to suffer so much, I lived it with a lot of nerves.

“It was not as we wanted, but reaching the final is not for anyone. It was a nice show because I had never had the chance to see Boca.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery is expected to have a busy summer, though his budget may be limited.

First, the Europa League final against Chelsea on May 29 is on Emery’s mind though.

Though the Spaniard recently admitted he needs money to improve his Arsenal squad.

He said: ”I think we can improve first, by spending money to achieve players.

“In the past the club have done great work in watching players, finding and signing young players and developing our players in the academy.

“I have big respect for our work, for our players in the academy.

“I want to develop the players here—giving them progress to achieve something at a big club like we are.

“We can also achieve [buy] some players who are in other teams, who can come here and give us this performance—like [Virgil] Van Dijk with Liverpool.”

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Arsenal facing transfer PROBLEM because of Man Utd, Liverpool and Nicolas Pepe

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery is looking to the transfer window to strengthen his squad, regardless of whether or not they win the Europa League.

But Manchester United and Liverpool are looking to do the same, with both clubs interested in securing Pepe’s signature.

The Lille star, who is also in the Gunners’ sights, has enjoyed a stunning campaign with the Ligue 1 giants.

The 23-year-old has bagged an impressive 20 goals from 36 league outings, clocking up 11 assists along the way.

Express Sport understands Arsenal are interested in securing Lorient hitman Alexis Claude-Maurice.

But Lille want him too as a replacement for United and Liverpool target Pepe.

Should one of Arsenal’s domestic rivals swoop for the star, then Lille may go in for Claude-Maurice.

And that would give the Gunners a problem, with Emery eager to sign Claude-Maurice as well this summer.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move to Pepe.

But United, according to journalist Duncan Castles, have enquired about the player Arsenal are also tracking.

“One of the clubs interested in Pepe [that] have expressed an interest to Lille is Manchester United,” he told The Transfer Window podcast.

“I’m told that last week a phone call went in to one of the Lille directors to enquire about the cost of a transfer for Pepe, who’s been outstanding in the French division this year, scoring goals and creating goals with a great deal of pace, actually a very good fit to what Manchester United would need on the right wing, to ask whether he would be available for sale.

“So Manchester United have shown their hand there. They’ve not gone any further.

“I’m told there’s been no bid and there’s been no further contact with Lille since that enquiry.

“But, again, the market’s beginning to move.

“Clubs like Lille who have players like Pepe who they know they will sell this summer, they very openly advertised and set a fee for him, would like to have as many of the big clubs bidding for him as possible, are waiting for one of these big clubs to make a move and inject money into the market so they can spend and recruit elsewhere, and those moves have implications for everyone else.”

Arsenal have also been linked with Kostas Manolas, Wilfried Zaha and Samuel Umtiti.

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Arsenal star hopes to play last Gunners game in Europa League final vs Chelsea

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Danny Welbeck could be available to play for Arsenal in the Europa League final after returning to training.

The 28-year-old has not played after breaking his ankle in November.

The Injury was so severe it required him to go under the knife twice as part of his recovery.

However, following Welbeck’s return to full training Arsenal are now planning to take him to Baku to face Chelsea, reports the Daily Mail.

Although the player will travel with the squad it is not known what involvement, if any, the England international will have during the final on May 29.

It is expected to be a farewell game for Welbeck, after Arsenal boss Unai Emery confirmed the player will be leaving the club when his contract expires in the summer.

Following Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brighton in their final Premier League game, Emery confirmed Welbeck’s departure.

“I spoke to the club with this situation and the decision is he is going to leave,” Emery said at the time.

Despite Welbeck missing half of the season through injury, he could get an opportunity to help the club qualify for the Champions League next year as Arsenal might not be taking Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Azerbaijan.

The club have made it clear they want Mkhitaryan to travel, but the 30-year-old Armenian might be caught up in political tensions if he travels to the game.

That is because there is currently a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

Arsenal are seeking guarantees from UEFA about the situation with Mkhitaryan, but the club are reputedly growing concerned about the situation.

The Gunners have already played in Azerbaijan in the Europa League this season, when they took on Qarabag FK in the group stages of the tournament.

Mkhitaryan did not travel to Baku to play but the Gunners did win 3-0 on the night.

However, it might not just be Mkhitaryan not making the journey to Azerbaijan, as thousands of fans from both clubs also face the prospect of missing out.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have only been allocated 6,000 tickets each from the 68,700 seats at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, a decision which has infuriated fans.

And those who are lucky enough to get a ticket then face the logistical nightmare of completing a 2,500 mile round trip to attend the game.

Uefa have apologised to both clubs over the travel chaos fans face but admit they hadn’t expected an all-English final.

“It goes without saying that an all-English final played by two London teams was not a very predictable event at the time of the appointment,” Uefa competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said.

“There is little doubt that this has added significant difficulties to the event logistics.

“We are really sorry for the problems that your (and Chelsea’s) fans are encountering trying to organise their journey to Baku.

“Our experts are keenly working on this matter with a view to help find cheaper solutions for travelling fans. We would welcome a joint effort with your club in this respect.”

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