Arsenal have confirmed that Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe didn’t make the squad for the Premier League clash against Crystal Palace due to injury and illness.
The Gunners travel to Selhurst Park for a crucial match in the race for the top four without two of their senior players. Both were in action during the international break and netted goals in friendies for Scotland and Ivory Coast respectively but miss out for Monday night’s clash.
Arsenal have now confirmed that Tierney misses out on tonight’s match due to a knee injury. The Scottish international is replaced in the starting line up by Nuno Tavares who is making his first start for the club since being taken off before half time in January’s shock FA Cup third round defeat to Nottingham Forest.
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On the bench youngster Mazeed Ogungbo comes in to replace Tavares. The Hale Ender has primarily played on the left side of a back three for Kevin Betsy’s under-23 side this season, however, he is capable of playing as a left back or left wing back. Alternatively there is the option to swap Cedric over to left back if needs be, with Ben White capable of covering at right back.
Pepe meanwhile misses out due to illness. It is a devastating blow for the Ivorian who Mikel Arteta challenged to take his opportunities when he is given the chance to play in the build up to this match. “I don’t want to find players that have the complacency to say I accept that situation,” the Spaniard said of Pepe, who has not started a Premier League match since the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium in October.
“They have to rebuild to that situation and if they cannot get in the team they have to get the player that is playing to a different level and help the team more. And when you have that opportunity you have to take it.”
He is replaced on the bench by prodigious Mexican international Marcelo Flores. The 18-year-old has impressed many in the under-23s this season and is viewed by many as someone who could be the next to step off the academy conveyor belt. Flores himself stated that he wants to make his first team debut before the age of 19, and tonight could potentially be a chance for him.
Elsewhere in the team the Gunners welcome Aaron Ramsdale back into the side. The England keeper had been labelled a “doubt” for the match by Mikel Arteta after missing the last match against Aston Villa prior to the international break due to a hip problem. However, the 23-year-old trained prior to the game and is straight back into the starting line up, with Bernd Leno returning to the bench.