The January signing who may have played his last game for Arsenal after Crystal Palace win


Arsenal bolstered their chances of securing a spot in next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League last night with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Late goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe sealed a dramatic three points for the Gunners, who looked set to see their three-game winning run come to an end after Christian Benteke’s header had cancelled out Pepe’s opener in the first half.

Nevertheless, the Gunners showed tremendous amounts of courage and wisdom to get the job done, with both Martinelli, who had stepped off the bench with just over ten minutes left on the clock, and Pepe scoring in stoppage time.

The win at Selhurst Park has moved the Gunners back up to ninth in the Premier League table, one point behind north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. That means that Arsenal are now in with a realistic chance of competing in Europe next season, even though it would not be in the competition that they would have liked to have qualified for.

With West Ham United winning 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion last night, Arsenal can no longer qualify for the Europa League, meaning the Europa Conference League is their last chance.

For that to happen Mikel Arteta’s side would have to beat Brighton & Hove Albion in their final day clash on Sunday and hope that both Tottenham and Everton fail to beat Leicester City and Manchester City, respectively.

Ahead of Sunday’s final day showdown with the Seagulls, Arteta, who watched his side record a 1-0 win over Graham Potter’s side at the AMEX Stadium back in December, will have already had to make a decision on who will start in goal, with Bernd Leno poised to continue between the sticks.

The Germany international, who has been named in the Germany squad for this summer’s European Championships, started against Palace last night, making it three successive Premier League appearances on the bounce.

Now, he is poised to make it four starts in a row with the fact that on-loan Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan will be ineligible to face his parent club on Sunday. The Australian shot-stopper joined the Gunners on loan back in January and has made three Premier League appearances.

However, he will not be allowed to increase that tally as Premier League rules state that on-loan players cannot face their parent club.

That is not to say that he will never play for Arsenal again, as he is poised to enter the final year of his Brighton contract this summer and could be available for the Gunners to sign on a permanent basis at a reduced price if they want to.



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However, as things stand, Ryan would return to Brighton at the end of his loan deal.

When he arrived at the Emirates Stadium back in January, Arteta refused to rule out the prospect of signing him on a permanent basis.

The Spaniard said: “I don’t know, he’s just arrived. It’s a loan deal and he still has a contract with Brighton and we will assess to see how he performs, see how he adapts, what we need in the future. It’s still too early to decide.”

Arsenal do have other goalkeepers within their ranks beyond Leno, including Arthur Okonkwo, Karl Hein and Icelandic shot-stopper Alex Runarsson.





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