It would appear that Mikel Arteta and Edu have come to the conclusion that buying the Icelandic goalkeeper Alex Runarsson in the summer was a grave mistake, and the Arsenal coach has now taken the decision of leaving him out of the Europa League squad for the knockout stages.

It is quite a blow for the 25 year-old, because the Europa League is usually the competition that gives game time to the backup to Bernd Leno, but now even that chance has been taken away from him.

The timing of this announcement could have better as well, considering that Bernd Leno is suspended for this weekend’s game at Aston Villa and our new backup keeper Mat Ryan is struggling with a hip injury. It is still not certain whether Ryan will be fit enough to travel to Villa Park, but if he is unavailable then it seems likely that Alex Runarsson will start in goal with the youngster Artur Okonkwo on the bench.

Okonkwo is only 19 years old but highly regarded, but Arteta also has James Hillson, who is 20 and joined us from Reading 18 months ago.

This omission of Runarsson is hardly going to help his confidence, so could Arteta even be thinking of starting with Okonkwo between the sticks on Saturday?

READ MORE: “I was really shocked” – Arsenal ace aims parting dig at Mikel Arteta

Tags Okonkwo Runarsson


  1. Setbacks are part of life, even Leno had a howler last game, so no keeper is immune from howlers.My suggestion to the lad is train hard, take one game at a time, keep focused and a winner is one who turns a losing situation around. More experienced keepers like Kepa or De Gea, even Loris have had bad days. There are n number of clubs playing football, so in the summer the lad will move, till then he should do his best. Greats like Ozil were left out too, so nothing personal, just be professional and improve.

  2. What was he £1.5m. I can live with that. It was a panic buy, we all knew it, but not a “grave” mistake by any means.

    1. @Indian Gunner London. Yes we shipped out players but lost 200 million pound in lost transfer fees and wasted salaries because they all walked on a free. Nothing to celebrate. And it is likely Aubameyang Lacazette and Willian will all walk on frees. Another 200 million down the drain. Not that the loss of 400 mill is all Artetas fault it’s just that’s its happening on his watch. The two mid fielders loaned are Real Madrid rejects while our own youngsters are loaned out missing EL experience. 0ne academy player in the EL A squad and only until Ryan is fit. This is not an Arsenal team but a team of mostly foreigners here for the money.

      1. @ Wyoming
        I agree with you about the losses. We have done so badly in the past regarding the transfers that even getting rid of the players so that we can them off the wage bill for the last 6 months is a celebration.
        Gone are the days when we used to be good like selling Adebayor and Nasri to City, Fabregas to Barcelona or even the controversial VanPersie with just 1 year left for about £ 24 million to Man Utd.

  3. So Balogun is a goner huh..?

    Don’t really care what happens for Runarsson. It’s quite evident he is not PL standard (being Dijon’s back up keeper should’ve rang the bells).

  4. One thing is certain that with this clown in goal we will loose against Villa the people that recommended this guy should be sacked immediately!!

  5. This article is naive and sad – Runarsson was in and out of Dijon and was for example mom vs PSG away in feb 2020. Was in World cup 2018 and has played excellently in national games vs best nations in the world. One bad mistake dont make him a bad keeper. He is building up his confidence and is more than capable for upcoming saturday.

  6. I have been very critical in many of the comments on the goalkeeping situation in the last 2 windows.

    I would have preferred Martinez. If this was not possible then Macey. Both gone now. Both Homegrown talents in preference to Ryan and Runnarson. This also restricted us from using William S and Mesut O in the last sqaud till Jan.

    But I have to accept the rough with the smooth. MA managed to ship out Sead K, Sokratis P, Skhodran M and Mesut O in 1 window. WOW.

    Plus he has addressed the issue of holding midfielder and defender in Thomas P and Gabriel M in 2 windows.

    So all in all happy. Trust Runnarson and support him rather than knock him till the end of the season.

  7. I really feel for Runarsson… if he has to play on Saturday, then so be it. Can’t we just get behind him?!.
    He hasn’t had a great time with us – abuse from the fans, deleting his accounts.. imagine if he reads all of this, do his confidence the world of good, hey?! 🙄

    1. Exactly Sue, he’s with us now so lets get behind him while he’s with us. Also, we seem to get a lot of loan players are injured when we sign them.

      1. Hi guys lets get on with the game. Give the lads a support they require and lets be positive somethings are just not in the hands of the team.

    2. Sue its just unbelievable. Arsenal fans are the worst bunch ever! Ever eager to condemn. Classless bunch. You wonder how teams in the lower leagues have fans. Just support! In good and bad times, just support. If you cannot then f##k off. SHit fans acting like their lives are perfect. Wonder how great all arsenal fans are as people in their lives.

      1. Sue, exactly right. Runarsson didn’t make the mistakes on purpose, he just had a “bad day at the office”. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last keeper to make a howler.
        His career should not be destroyed by one bad match.

  8. It really baffles me, as to how these so called experienced executives continuously mess up. Before he was signed many questioned his ability. The many i talk about have normal jobs outside of football. What an embarrassing lot we have been for the past few years.

  9. Let’s get behind him. Who knows he may have a worldie? After all, Martinez had a similar story last season…

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