Alexandre Lacazette is one of four first-team players unavailable as Arsenal prepare to host BATE Borisov at the Emirates on Thursday night.
Arsenal will be aiming to script a fine comeback tale when they welcome BATE Borisov to the Emirates on Thuesday night. And, Unai Emery will be buoyed by the reducing health bill in his squad, with just three players on the treatment table.
During his pre-match press conference, the Arsenal boss was asked to provide an update regarding team news, and the manager iterated that Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Aaron Ramsey trained with the squad, although Ainsley Maitland-Niles was struggling with illness.
“Yes, they are coming back with the team in the squad, Sokratis and Aaron Ramsey. Today Ainsley is sick and tomorrow we will see how he is, but today he cannot do the training. The other players are fit to play tomorrow.”
Despite not being convincing the last time out, Emery is likely to keep faith in Petr Cech between the posts, with Bernd Leno being rested. The Arsenal boss is expected to stick with Maitland-Niles at right-back, while Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi will take up central defensive positions, with Sokratis likely to be eased back in.
Sead Kolasinac will keep his place on the left side of the defence, meaning Nacho Monreal could be relegated to the bench. In midfield, Emery is likely to recall Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira back to central midfield with a win being key. Denis Suarez could make his first start for the club from the left wing, while Alex Iwobi should be deployed on the opposite flank.
Ramsey, despite returning to full training, will likely be named among the substitutes instead of returning to the starting lineup straightaway. Mesut Ozil might not start either, but Emery made promising comments over the German’s future, amid rumours of an impending summer exit.
“Mostly, the key is his hand and he is working very well this week and I ask him in our conversations to be consistent, to be available for us training, when you can train with quality and consistency, it can help us with the best performance after in the games. Now, this week is good for all the players, because we are in a big, important moment for the season and I look at him doing the training like we want.”
With Ramsey and Ozil unlikely to start, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is expected to be the attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette was sent off for a vicious elbow strike, meaning the French striker will miss the second leg, as well as the game after Thursday’s. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take his place and hope to end his own barren run in front of goal.