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Arsenal name traveling squad for United States preseason trip

Same surprising names left off the list.

The Arsenal Squad Board the Team Flight to Washington for their Pre-season Tour of the USA Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal are en route to the United States. Mikel Arteta is bringing a 29-man roster stateside composed of almost exclusively senior players. 18-year old Amario Cozier-Duberry is only academy player on the trip, which is a bit of a disappointment after Ethan Nwaneri and Miles Lewis-Skelly played well against FC Nurnberg. I suppose Arteta wants to focus on his Premier League roster with the season opener less than a month out.

Last year, Arsenal brought one academy player, Reuell Walters, to the U.S. with the first team for preseason. Cozier-Duberry might be this year’s equivalent. He could also be a late replacement for Reiss Nelson, who didn’t travel.

The Gunners land in D.C. Sunday afternoon to join in the MLS All-Star festivities. On Tuesday, Martin Ødegaard, Kai Havertz, Folarin Balogun, Eddie Nketiah, Jorginho, Fabio Vieira, Rob Holding, Marquinhos, Aaron Ramsdale, and Karl Hein will compete in the Skills Challenge. Arsenal will face the Wayne Rooney-coached MLS All-Stars on Wednesday. They will play Manchester United at MetLife Stadium in NY/NJ on Saturday before flying to LA to take Barcelona on Wednesday the 26th at SoFi Stadium, home of Stan Kroenke’s LA Rams.

Emile Smith Rowe, Thomas Partey, Reiss Nelson, Nicolas Pepe, Cedric Soares, and Albert Sambi Lokonga all did not make the trip with the club. The first two, ESR and Partey, are expected to join the club next week. Smith Rowe’s absence makes sense — he gets a bit of vacation time after England’s U21 win. Partey’s is a bit stranger — he played against Nurnberg, so he must have picked up a slight knock in that match. Or it could be something else, like that thing we aren’t talking about or in preparation for a move away (less likely).

The announcement says, “the players who are not part of the squad will be working hard on their fitness and/or recovering from injury.” I’m sure that is a catch-all cover for any number of situations.

Mikel Arteta did say, “we had other players with issues picked up in the week so we have to be’s pre-season and some of them have only had two or three training sessions so we’ll take it step by step,” after the Nurnberg match. That could explain Reiss Nelson’s absence from the traveling squad. An injury would be disappointing for Reiss — fitness problems have plagued him throughout his young career and prevented him from extended runs of playing time / form.

Pepe, Cedric, and Lokonga’s non-inclusion on the list feel like “injuries” of convenience as the trio look all look to moves away from the Emirates this summer. Rob Holding, who has recently been linked with a transfer, is on the trip. But that might be because he loves the United States and wouldn’t want to miss out regardless.

Matt Turner isn’t on the roster nor was he mentioned by name in the announcement. Presumably that’s because he was with the USMNT through the loss to Panama on July 12th and is entitled to some vacation time. Given that he was last in the U.S. for those games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up at some of the preseason matches.

Also not mentioned on the club announcement was Nuno Tavares. The Portuguese defender is reportedly on vacation following the U21 Euros.

Martin Ødegaard, who missed out against FC Nurnberg with an injury picked up in warmups, traveled with the team. As did Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Martinelli, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Mohamed Elneny, all of whom are rehabbing from injury and re-integrating into training.

Arsenal’s newest signings — Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber, and Kai Havertz — were on the plane. We’ll likely see footage of them each participating in the time-honored tradition of new players singing a song at a team dinner in the near future.