Arsene Wenger has confirmed that 4 of his key players have missed the trip to Bulgaria.
Arsenal face Ludogorets away from home, after soundly defeating the Bulgarian champions 6-0 in the reverse fixture.
Bellerin in a surprise last minute absentee, as the young right-back featured over the weekend. However, it was expected he would be rested, along with other key players, as Arsenal have an important game against Tottenham Hotspur coming up this weekend.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, Arsene Wenger had this to say when he delivered the team news :
“Who did not travel is Monreal, Cazorla and Bellerin, Walcott – both are more or less injuries. Some of them being very close, like Walcott, Bellerin had a little incident in the last minute of training so they are not here.
For us it’s a big game because as you said, if we win we can qualify. But if we lose, you can as well be in a difficult situation. So we know the importance of the game is massive.”
Regardless of Arsene Wenger’s conservative comments regarding the importance of the game, it was widely expected he would name a much-changed side given Arsenal’s current strength in depth as well as the fact that this is a game they are expected to win comfortably.
The aforementioned North London derby this Sunday might prove to be a key fixture in the title race, and Wenger will want his entire squad coming out of this midweek Champions League game unscathed so that he can name the strongest side possible against their bitter rivals.
Arsenal were comfortable winners last time round, and as we predicted here, will very likely be comfortable winners this time around as well regardless of the fact that 4 key players have stayed at home.