Arsene Wenger has provided updates regarding the availability of several players for the the game at the Emirates against Southampton on Sunday.
It seems Henrikh Mkhitaryan might be out for a long time. The Armenian was subbed off after an hour of the Europe League game against CSKA Moscow on Thursday, and the manager says there might be damage to his medial knee ligament. Therefore, it’s impossible to say at this point how long his absence will last, but more will be revealed soon. Let’s hope the fear is proven needless.
After suffering an ankle injury in training, goalkeeper David Ospina will be back in two or three weeks. Petr Cech took his place in the team on Thursday and is likely to do so again in the return leg in Moscow, while Matt Macey sat on the bench.
The game on Sunday will come too soon for Ainsley Maitland-Niles who has picked up a niggle on international duty, but the 20-year-old might be back for the trip to Moscow next week.
As was the case with Stoke City last weekend, this game will mean more to Southampton than to the Gunners in terms of points as the Saints fight their fierce battle against relegation, while the Gunners still look set for another finish outside the top four regardless of the outcome.
However, Wenger will naturally expect any team he selects to perform to the best their abilities. The manager is certain to employ some level of rotation between the Europa League and the Premier League due to injuries and Aubameyang’s ineligibility issue.
He has recently expressed happiness with the return of Alexandre Lacazette to the fold and Lacazette repaid his faith by scoring a brace against CSKA. Given that the French striker has only just returned from injury as well as the lack of Aubameyang in the Moscow rematch, it will be interesting to see how many minutes Lacazette plays against the Saints on Sunday.
Arsenal can be backed at 4/7 to beat Southampton.