Mikel Arteta will be left to sweat over the fitness of two of his most important players ahead of Thursday’s make or break Europa League tie away at Slavia Prague.
Both talented midfielder Emile Smith Rowe and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have sustained injury and illness respectively which will leave fans and staff alike panicking surrounding their inclusion on Thursday night.
The Gunners have to face Sheffield United in the league first, but with Arsenal’s dire domestic showings the league games are now playing second fiddle to Europa League competition.
Arteta’s side travel to Bramall Lane with little left to play for domestically, cast 12 points adrift from the top four, Arsenal know if they are to feature in Europe in any capacity next season their best bet is by winning the Europa League.
That task will be made sufficiently easier if they have the likes of Smith Rowe and Aubameyang available to them, though according to The Athletic that prospect remains unclear, with Arsenal likely to assess the fitness of the pair after the Sheffield United clash.
Smith Rowe is ruled out of Sunday evening’s game with an ‘ankle issue’, while Arsenal’s main man Aubameyang is thought to have been struck down with a case of flu.
Arsenal’s Europa League hopes hang in the balance as they travel to a Slavia Prague side who have not lost at home in 20 attempts needing to score, after a late capitulation at the Emirates saw them give away a precious away goal.
It is undeniable their odds of progression are drastically improved with Aubameyang in particular present, regardless of recent form the club skipper has come up with some crucial goals in Arsenal’s Europa League run this season.