Bukayo Saka blow confirmed by Mikel Arteta as Willian misses out for Arsenal against Olympiacos


Willian has missed out on a place in the Arsenal matchday squad for the Europa League last-16 second leg tie against OIympiacos.

As does wonderkid Bukayo Saka with manager Mikel Arteta opting to make five changes to the side that started the 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby last time out.

Despite starting the 3-1 first-leg win over Olympiacos a week ago, Willian was a second half substitute five days ago, but has not made the Arsenal bench for this evening’s decider.

And the reason for the Brazilian’s absence is injury-related as football.london understands he has been left out due to a tight calf.

Meanwhile, Arteta has opted against risking Saka. The England international was taken off at half-time in the north London Derby win and replaced by Nicolas Pepe as a result of a hamstring problem.

However, Saka hasn’t been spotted in training this week and when speaking ahead of kick-off, Arteta confirmed that the teenager was not fit enough to be involved.

In addition, the Gunners boss explained the reason behind making five changes which has seen Hector Bellerin, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny, and Dani Ceballos all return.

“We’ve played so many games in the last nine days, some of them played a lot of minutes, we have another game on Sunday,” Arteta told BT Sport. “The priority is today, but we have to put the players out that are fresh so they can compete.

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“It was really cruel and it took a while to get through that one (last season’s loss). We showed in the first game that it was over and how much we wanted to win the game and we did it. Today, it’s the second-half of the tie and we have to win again.

“It’s so important in the Premier League but also so crucial when you play in ties and the goal difference plays a relevant part.

“We have to improve in that and we have learnt because we have spoken about it in the last few days and hopefully we can see something different today.”





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