Arteta: Runarsson can ‘handle the pressure’ of replacing Leno

Arsenal are already without No1 goalkeeper Bernd Leno for this weekend’s trip to Villa Park after he was sent off during Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves for handling the ball outside of his area.

The German is now serving a one-game suspension and his back-up, on-loan Brighton goalkeeper Ryan, also risks missing Saturday’s match due to a hip injury.

Arsenal are hopeful that the Australian, who signed on loan last month, can train over the coming days and prove his fitness, but if not Runarsson will start at the weekend.

The Iceland international has made a shaky start to life at Arsenal after joining from Dijon in the summer for £1million and he was left out of the club’s Europa League squad for the knockout stages yesterday.

Wolves 2-1 Arsenal, Mikel Arteta Press Conference

But asked if Runarsson has the strength of character to cope with playing for Arsenal, Arteta replied: “Yeah and he works really hard. 

“He has fit in really well around the dressing room. He is a really nice boy, really humble, and he needs to be away from all the comments and focus on his work, focus on improving.

“People expect when you go out there for you to give your best and perform at the top level – and if you don’t you are going to get criticism. 

“You know that, before you join the club, that you are exposed all the time to critics and, as well, if you do really well everybody is going to be praising more than at any other club. You have to be able, if you want to play here, to handle that pressure.

“I think he knew and he expected that, and he needs to handle that. We are here to support him, he has played some games already here, he has played some good games. He had a difficult game against Manchester City. The other night he came on and I think he did well.”

Arsenal are also due to be without David Luiz for Saturday’s game after he was sent off against Wolves too.

The Gunners are appealing it, however, and were due to hear back this afternoon as to whether it had been overturned, with Arteta saying he was “very hopeful” it would be.

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