For the most part, Arsenal’s loanees have all started to get their loan spells going by now, but Runar Alex Runarsson looks set for a fight for minutes.
It’s been far from smooth sailing for Arsenal’s crop of loanees so far. There have been little injury setbacks all over the place, as well as slightly more extended absences for the likes of Jordi Osei-Tutu and Reiss Nelson – who only made his debut this weekend.
Then there are those who have been playing every week, like William Saliba, Daniel Ballard, Harry Clarke, and others. But as things stand, there’s only one player who hasn’t played at all – Runar Alex Runarsson.
Runarsson moved to the Belgium first tier on loan, joining OH Leuven. He hasn’t been injured or absent, as he’s made every matchday squad for the last month. But he’s yet to play a game.
Obviously, loan spells for goalkeepers always run the risk of this problem. The manager can only pick one at a time, so it’s not easy to ease your way into the side. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right loan, to a team you believe you’ll start for.
Arsenal’s other loan goalkeepers seem to have chosen well. Dejan Iliev and Tom Smith are both starting every game when fit, the only issue has been keeping them fit.
Runarsson looks like he’ll need to rely on a bit of luck to displace Rafael Romo ahead of him.
The Iceland international will likely get at least one opportunity to show what he can do on the pitch, next week. Leuven play their first game of the Belgian Cup against second-tier side Lierse Kempenzonen.
But it’s a bit of a no-win situation. If Runarsson keeps a clean sheet and Leuven progress against lower-league opponents, that was always expected. If he doesn’t and they don’t, that’s definitely bad news.
For Runarsson’s sake, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Lierse play the game of their lives with plenty of chances but find it impossible to get past the Arsenal loanee.