Ahead of our game against Bodo/Glimt this evening, Mikel Arteta once again included some members of our academy on the bench.
Here are the three youngsters who could make their first-team bow in Bodo:
Matt Smith is no stranger to Mikel Arteta's side and also travelled to Norway with the squad. Smith, 22, has been a regular in first-team training this season and is now striving for competitive playing time.
A technically gifted central midfielder with an impressive passing range, the 21-year-old was named on our first-team bench six times towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign, including in the 2020 FA Cup final victory against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
An Arsenal player from the age of eight, he captained the under-18s to Premier League South title in 2019 and was recently named on the bench for our Premier League wins against Aston Villa and Brentford.
For Hale End graduate Khayon Edwards, this marks his first Europa League call-up.
A hard-working attacker whose style of play and potency in front of goal emulates fellow academy grad, Eddie Nketiah, Edwards was a reliable player for the under-21s – who are still unbeaten in Premier League 2 this season – prior to suffering an injury last month.
The 19-year-old put pen to paper on his first professional contract in May this year. Edwards was our key academy frontman last season, scoring 16 goals in as many games for the under-18s.
17-year-old Bradley Ibrahim – a versatile midfielder who signed his first professional contract with us earlier this year – was also included in the Europa League travelling squad for the first time.
After spending most of his youth career at QPR, Ibrahim joined the Gunners in 2017. His leadership capabilities quickly marked him out as a special presence on the pitch and he has worn the armband for the under-18s on several occasions this season. More recently, the midfield powerhouse has swiftly consolidated his place in Mehmet Ali's under-21 side.
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