Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka, Xavier Amaechi and Deyan Iliev are in first-team training ahead of the Europa League final, and appear likely to be part of the squad for the trip.
As we confirmed earlier this week, Saka and Amaechi were held back from England youth duty this month so they could be available for the EL final. New rules for the competition this season mean Arsenal are allowed 12 substitutes on the teamsheet against Chelsea, an increase of five on the usual seven allowed.
As a result, it’s expected that the Gunners will fill these extra five spaces with players from their talented academy squad. Amaechi, Willock, Saka, Nketiah and Iliev have all been in training with the senior side this week, so it’s not hard to figure out which five have been selected.
Nketiah and Willock both featured to good effect against Burnley in the final Premier League game of the season, so it makes sense that they’re going to be involved in the trip.
Meanwhile, Iliev is the obvious choice for the third-choice goalkeeper spot, given the only real alternative is 17-year-old Arthur Okonkwo. Talented as the youngster is, he only made his u23 debut recently, so Iliev will hold onto the spot for now.
Saka and Amaechi have had very little first-team involvement this season, but they’re required due to Arsenal’s continuing problems in wide areas.
Denis Suarez joined on loan but only lasted a couple of months before ending his season with an injury, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is unlikely to even be allowed in the country. That only really leaves Alex Iwobi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as potential wide options, so having Saka and Amaechi as backups is important.
Left-winger Saka scored 14 goals, provided 10 assists and won three penalties for the academy in 2018/19. The 17-year-old was also Arsenal’s man-of-the-match in his first senior start in the Europa League group stage.
Meanwhile, right-winger Amaechi spent the first half of the season out injured, but still managed five goals and five assists in 15 starts for the youth teams. His performances have reportedly drawn interest from around Europe and they earned him a senior debut in the friendly against Al-Nasr in March.