Mikel Arteta’s & co. will be aiming to bounce back from weekend defeat when they welcome Slavia Prague to the Emirates stadium on Thursday night.
The Gunners are in miserable form in domestic this season, and Thursday’s clash against Slavia Prague in Europa League quarter-final first leg, could define their campaign.
With Mikel Arteta’s side sitting tenth position on league standings with 42 points, their hope of make spot in European competitions next season, fall firmly on win Europa League title and using it as a back-door into the Uefa Champions League.
And ahead of mouthwatering encounter with Slavia Prague, who dumped both Leicester and high-flying Rangers out of the competition in earlier knockout rounds, Mikel Arteta’s & co. have a couple of fresh injury concerns hampering their preparations.
Bukayo Saka has been struggled with a hamstring strain, which saw him missed Gunners 1-0 defeat to Olympiacos in second-leg of their Uefa Europa League.
The 19-year-old versatile player made returned to the Arsenal starting lineup against West Ham before the international break, but was forced to withdraw from England squad due to same injury problem and stayed put at Arsenal to receive treatment.
No one is even talking about his shot stopping https://t.co/MSvFprwSyV— A1 (@A1ZH4RY) April 5, 2021
However, the winger taken a major step towards to back to action as he appeared at London Colney training based alongside his team-mates on Friday but missed Gunners 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Emirates on Saturday night.
Emile Smith Rowe – Don’t sleep on him💫 pic.twitter.com/qDWUkxQNfS— 🌡 (@gunnerkamal) March 8, 2021
Saka is expecting to be fit for Thursday’s selection and his available of Arsenal’s biggest game of the season will be huge boost for Mikel Arteta’s side, who eager to back to European’s competitions next season.
Emile Smith Rowe
Emile Smith-Rowe, who sat out of England Under-21s’ devastating European Championships defeat by Croatia on Wednesday night due to a hip issue, wasn’t involved in a training session with his team-mates on Friday morning.
Explaining Emile Smith Rowe pic.twitter.com/yOjjieoKOo— James (@kovacball) January 20, 2021
The Englishman also failed to make the squad on Saturday but the playmaker is expecting to back into contention on Thursday. It’s likely the 20-year-old may only be selected on the substitutes’ bench as a precaution, before being introduced at a later stage.
The Swiss midfielder has been somewhat of a stalwart in the Gunners midfield since he arrived in 2016, barely ever missing a fixture through injury.
However, Xhaka reportedly fell unwell on Friday morning, inevitably resulting in the midfielder being left out of the squad the following day against Premier League champions Liverpool.
Xhaka is likely to recover in time to regain his place in Arsenal’s midfield park against Slavia Prague on Thursday evening.
Arsenal fear Kieran Tierney will be out for a number of weeks in a second major defensive setback for Mikel Arteta ahead of Thursday’s clash against Slavia Prague.
Centre-back David Luiz is set for an extended spell out after undergoing minor surgery on his right knee on Sunday. And he is poised to be joined on the sidelines by first-choice left-back Tierney who was forced off during Arsenal’s eventual 3-0 defeat against Liverpool on Saturday.
Tierney hurt himself in a clash with James Milner and had to be withdrawn just before half-time after treatment. Arteta confirmed: ‘He felt something in his knee and he was in pain.’
Tierney is now set for a scan in the next 48 hours to determine the severity of the injury and give Arsenal a clearer indication of exactly how long he will be out.
People forget how much a fighter Freddie really was, dispatching Terry there like he was Andre Santos and still having the focus and talent to finish with class https://t.co/CyLTn8AA8L— EHAB (@CANDYMANCHENK) April 5, 2021
With Arsenal nine points off the top four with eight games to go, the Europa League is looking increasingly like their best hope of getting into next season’s Champions League.