Explanation given as Bernd Leno absent as Arsenal clash with Man United
Leno absent from Arsenal squad
German international and former number-one Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno did not make Mikel Arteta’s matchday squad tonight as the Gunners look to pull off a smash and grab result at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
In an update provided from the club’s official Twitter account, the former Bayer Leverkusen standout is suffering from a tight groin and was not taken among the traveling party under the Spanish headmaster.
🇩🇪 Bernd Leno misses tonight’s game with a tight groin.
Back stronger, Bernd 💪
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 2, 2021
As his replacement, Hale End Academy graduate Arthur Okonkwo was drafted as backup tonight for summer signing Aaron Ramsdale.
Regardless, Leno was hardly expected to make any contribution for Arsenal tonight, with the last appearance made by the native of Bietigheim-Bissingen coming back on 26 October in the Gunners 2-0 Carabao Cup fourth-round win against fellow Premier League outfit Leeds United.
His last appearance in the league for Arsenal? The 5-0 thrashing at the hands of holders Manchester City, the third consecutive loss for the Gunners in what was an abhorrent start to the 2021-22 campaign.
Gunners with a chance to climb into the top four tonight
Since Leno’s last appearance in the league for Arsenal, Arteta’s troops have posted a 7-2-1 record, with the only loss coming in their recent humbling in a 4-0 loss to free-scoring Liverpool.
At the time of writing just before kick-off at Old Trafford against a Manchester United outfit now under the command of German tactician Ralf Rangnick, Arsenal have a chance to leapfrog stuttering West Ham and climb into the top four, with three points keeping them just five behind Liverpool.
More importantly, the expected bump to come from United under their new headmaster may not trouble the club as much should the Gunners win this evening as their lead over the Red Devils would increase to an eight-point gap between the bitter league rivals.
All signs point to the north London giants finally being back on track in domestic football without having to tackle continental commitments, but anything can happen between now and the end of the 2021-22 season.