Another massive injury blow for Arsenal ahead of Qarabag clash

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Arsenal take on Qarabag on Thursday night as they look to end their Europa League group stage with a fifth win from six games.

The 3-0 success against FC Vorskla in Kiev last time out has already guaranteed the Gunners passage through to the knockout stages as group winners and Unai Emery has admitted he will make several changes for the game with Qarabag.

“Our first aim in this competition, we have done, which was to be first in the group,” said Arsenal’s head coach.

“But we respect this competition and we respect Qarabag and so our objective is to win and we are going to give players chances to take responsibility, take rhythm and take confidence.

“Because we are going to play a lot of matches, in the next 10 days we play four matches – each of them very important – so we are going to use some different players with players coming from the under-23 team.”

One teenager who will not be involved on Thursday night, however, is Emile Smith Rowe – who has been one of the stars of Arsenal’s Europa League campaign so far, scoring twice – including in the game against Qarabag in Azerbaijian.

Smith Rowe has been involved in four of Arsenal’s five European games this season, only missing the game in Lisbon against Sporting CP.

But he will also have to sit out Thursday night’s clash at the Emirates after suffering an injury during training this week.

An Arsenal source insists the injury is not serious, however, describing it as just a knock, with Smith Rowe expected to be back quickly.

The playmaker did not train with the squad on Wednesday at London Colney, but Emery did include seven youngsters in the final session – with all seven set to be in the matchday squad against Qarabag.


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