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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explains why Cedric Soares is ‘very disappointed’

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Cedric previously said: “It feels amazing. It’s a dream come true being here, and being able to play for Arsenal is unreal.

“For me, Arsenal is a top team. They are a very, very good club, with fantastic fans as well. They are known to be so well supported and for me, it’s a pleasure to be here.

“Like I said, it’s a dream come true because I always thought about coming here and imagined it, and seeing it happen is really amazing.”

Arsenal also signed Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo during the January transfer window in their bid to fix their fragile defence.

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Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba injury update

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Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford will remain sidelined for a few more months and midfielder Paul Pogba is nowhere near returning to action,…

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Europa League: Mikel Arteta warns Arsenal stars to show their mettle at Olympiacos

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‘If they hide, I don’t like it’: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta warns his players to show their mettle away at Olympiacos in first leg of last-32 Europa League tie

  • Arsenal face Olympiacos away in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie 
  • Mikel Arteta is gearing up for his first European match in charge of the Gunners
  • The Arsenal boss is expecting a tough test and hostile atmosphere on Thursday
  • He has warned his Arsenal players not to go hiding at the Karaiskakis Stadium

Mikel Arteta has warned his players not to go hiding when they resume their Europa League bid against Olympiakos.

Arsenal face the Greek league leaders in the first leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday and know exactly what to expect at the Karaiskakis Stadium, where Olympiacos have lost just once this season.

Arteta has watched plenty of Pedro Martins’ side ahead of his first European game in charge of Arsenal while he has also been able to call on the insight of Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Mikel Arteta is gearing up for his first European match in charge of Arsenal on Thursday night

Mikel Arteta is gearing up for his first European match in charge of Arsenal on Thursday night

Sokratis Papastathopoulos knows a tough test awaits the Gunners against Olympiacos

Sokratis Papastathopoulos knows a tough test awaits the Gunners against Olympiacos

Sokratis Papastathopoulos knows a tough test awaits the Gunners against Olympiacos

ARSENAL’S LIKELY XI

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): 

Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac; Willock, Xhaka; Pepe, Ceballos, Martinelli; Lacazette

The Greece centre-back knows that a ‘tense’ atmosphere awaits Arsenal as well as opponents who are used to winning. Arteta, meanwhile, is wary of their passion and quality.

It will be a serious test of character for Arsenal’s players, particularly the younger ones Arteta selects, and he said: ‘It is part of the process. You don’t know until you expose them [how they will handle it].

‘They can have the best intention but they need to go to a stadium like here and when they make a mistake or a bad decision, have the courage to try again and play again.

Arteta's side head into the Europa League clash in confident form after beating Newcastle 4-0

Arteta's side head into the Europa League clash in confident form after beating Newcastle 4-0

Arteta’s side head into the Europa League clash in confident form after beating Newcastle 4-0

Matteo Guendouzi has travelled with Arsenal's squad after being axed against the Magpies

Matteo Guendouzi has travelled with Arsenal's squad after being axed against the Magpies

Matteo Guendouzi has travelled with Arsenal’s squad after being axed against the Magpies

‘And I want to see that in my players, whether they are 17 or 35. That’s what I expect from them.

‘If they keep trying, they have my full support. If they hide after that, I don’t like it.

‘But what I’ve seen up to now, every time they play on that field they are responding really, really well. That’s what I am hoping and I am sure they will do it tomorrow.’

Arsenal have travelled without Mesut Ozil, who has stayed behind as his wife is expecting their first child imminently.

Matteo Guendouzi is part of the squad Arteta brought to Greece after being axed for Sunday’s win at Newcastle having angered the Spaniard with his attitude during Arsenal’s winter break training camp in Dubai.

Mesut Ozil has stayed behind in London as his wife is expecting their first child imminently

Mesut Ozil has stayed behind in London as his wife is expecting their first child imminently

Mesut Ozil has stayed behind in London as his wife is expecting their first child imminently



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Arsenal confirm fresh double blow as 5 players miss Olympiacos clash

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Arsenal have provided a team news update ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos and we’ve been handed a major double blow.

Unfortunately, Mesut Ozil has been ruled out of the game in Athens tomorrow evening as the playmaker has been given personal leave to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

Lucas Torreira also hasn’t travelled with the first team squad to Greece as he’s been struck down by illness. The club says the midfield could yet make the trip on his own if he improves over the coming hours but I personally don’t see that happening. Is Torreira really going to overcome this illness in a matter of hours, fly to Greece and start in a huge game on Thursday night? I don’t think so.

It’s a big blow to be without two influential players like Ozil and Torreira for what will be a crucial first leg in our last-32 tie and Mikel Arteta will also be unable to call upon the services of three other first team players tomorrow.

Calum Chambers won’t play again this season after undergoing surgery on an ACL injury while Kieran Tierney isn’t ready yet as he’s not expected to resume full training until later this month having suffered a shoulder injury late last year.

January signing Cedric Soares is still working his way back to full fitness from a knee injury that he was nursing when he arrived on loan from Southampton so a total of five players are unavailable against Olympiacos.

However, there is some positive news on the injury front as Arsenal have confirmed Pablo Mari is available and could make his debut after building up his fitness with 90 minutes for the U23’s on Monday. I still think it’s highly unlikely Mari will start against Olympiacos but it’s still nice to have another option in defence.

This is what the team news update on Arsenal.com said earlier:

Calum Chambers
Left knee. Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during Chelsea (h) on 29 December. Successful surgery completed. Rehabilitation process expected to take between six to nine months.

Pablo Mari
Available for selection.

Mesut Ozil
Will miss Olympiacos (a) due to personal reasons.

Cedric Soares
Left knee. Progressing well with gym work. Aiming to be in full training by the end of February.

Lucas Torreira
Has not travelled on the club flight to Athens on Wednesday due to illness. Being assessed in the next 24 hours. If there is a significant improvement will fly to Athens in time for the match.

Kieran Tierney
Right shoulder. Dislocated right shoulder during West Ham Utd (a) on 9 December. Good progress being made in rehabilitation process and has commenced participation in group training sessions. Aiming to be in back in full training by the end of February.



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