Arsene Wenger is without the services of six first-team players as Arsenal prepare to host Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates on Thursday.
Arsenal host Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates on Thursday in a UEFA Europa League Group H match, looking to book their place in the Round of 32. Ahead of Thursday’s encounter, Arsene Wenger’s preparations have been hampered by the absence to some key players.
Sead Kolasinac, who was unlikely to play in the Europa League game, is recovering from a hip injury he sustained during the 2-1 win over Swansea City last Saturday. Speaking about the Bosnian defender in his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger hoped that he would be fit for Sunday’s Premier League match at Manchester City.
“Today he was much better. He will have a test at the end of the week. He’s not ruled out of Sunday’s game yet, but of course he’s not involved on Thursday. It’s not as bad as we feared at the start.”
Wenger: “Kolasinac will have a test at end of the week. Not ruled out of Sunday.” 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/KnZocJgVx7
— Nihad Gööner (@niherd09) November 1, 2017
Meanwhile, Wenger is expected to play a largely second-string side in a Europa League game once again, with one foot already in the Round of 32. But, two key players in the side, David Ospina (groin) and Calum Chambers (hip) are set to miss out due to their respective problems.
While Chambers has returned to training, the game has come too soon for him as he continues building his match fitness. Ospina, though, is yet to recover from his injury, and Wenger said that the Colombian might be available by the weekend, while also providing updates on Danny Welbeck (groin) and Shkodran Mustafi (thigh).
“Both of them are short. Ospina will maybe be available for Sunday and Calum Chambers is back in full training but not fit enough to play. Welbeck and Mustafi are [returning] after the break.”
In the absence of Ospina, Matt Macey is in contention to make his Europa League debut, while Chambers’ absence could mean that Mathieu Debuchy gets another outing in the back-three, having impressed in his two appearances this season.
Meanwhile, Red Star Belgrade boss Vladan Milojevic is without three first-team players for the trip to North London, with Branko Jovicic (foot) and Ricardinho (ankle) on the treatment table, and Milan Rodic suspended after picking up a red card in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.