Here are your Arsenal morning headlines for Thursday, March 4
Arteta complains at Spurs’ fixture switch
Mikel Arteta admits next weekend’s north London derby won’t be played in “equal conditions” because the switching of Tottenham’s Europa League first-leg tie against Dinamo Zagreb favours them.
Both Arsenal and Spurs were due to play next Thursday’s Round of 32 ties away from London but Tottenham’s game has now been moved back to the capital due to UEFA rules that teams from the same city can’t play at home on the same
It means Arsenal must travel to Greece to play Olympiacos before flying back and preparing for Sunday’s derby, whereas Spurs would have remained at home.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to change,” Arteta said, in quotes reported by The Guardian.
“We can raise our voices and we should do that because we want to have two teams playing in equal conditions. But the decision has been made and that’s it.
“I don’t want to use one bit of excuse going towards that game saying: ‘Oh they have an advantage.’ So I will probably use it to our advantage, and that’s it.”
Extra benefits of Lamptey and Grealish
Ahead of the summer transfer window, Arsenal have been linked with a number of playes – Jack Grealish, Emiliano Buendia and Tariq Lamptey among them – while Mikel Arteta admitted he wanted to sign a new left-back in January that never came to fruition.
All three names above will cost a sizeable transfer fee, which poses a very real problem for the Gunners. However, signing two of them would also solve a rather large issue the Gunners have on their hands for the 2021/22 campaign.
Arteta could only name a 22-man squad when this season began, due to their number of non homegrown players, as Premier League rules state a 25-man squad must have eight homegrown players in it – those who have been registered with an English team for at least three years before the age of 21.
Both Grealish and Lamptey, while expensive, would swell Arsenal’s homegrown numbers having been developed at Aston Villa and Chelsea, respectively, meaning Arteta could select a larger squad.
Saka’s rivals to be named Young Player of the Year
Bukayo Saka has been outstanding for Arsenal this season as a beacon of class and consistency in a campaign which has fluctuated in terms of quality.
The 19-year-old is now firmly established as a first-team star under Mikel Arteta and is a cornerstone of the Spaniard’s desire to rebuild the Gunners from the bottom up.
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Saka’s performances are attracting admiring glances from England manager Gareth Southgate and have also put him front and centre as to the end-of-season awards running with the teenager very much in the mix for Young Player of the Year.
football.london’s Kaya Kaynak takes a look at the candidates for the coveted award which features Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Pedro Neto of Wolves.