Arsenal will be looking to progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League for the second time in three seasons when they travel to the Czech Republic to face Slavia Prague on Thursday evening.
The tie is evenly balanced at 1-1 following last week’s first-leg at the Emirates Stadium, meaning it is all to play for in both teams’ ambitions of reaching the last-four.
However, Slavia right-back Tomas Holes nodded home deep into stoppage time to deny the Gunners the victory and grab a crucial away goal.
But the Gunners, who have since got back to winning ways, defeating Sheffield United 3-0 in the Premier League on Sunday evening at Bramall Lane, are facing a turbulent time in the build up to Thursday’s huge clash, with injury and illness issues within the camp increasing.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of all the very latest on the Gunners injury front ahead of their trip to Prague later this week.
Centre-back Luiz is already a confirmed absentee for the trip to the Czech Republic after undergoing minor knee surgery earlier this month.
The former Chelsea man was forced to go under the knife after missing the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool on April 3.
Arsenal confirmed that the procedure had gone well and that he would have aims to be back available in the “upcoming weeks.”
“The procedure has been a success and David is now back at home rehabilitating,” an Arsenal statement said.
“He will be able to return to daily support and recovery with our medical team at the training centre in the coming days.
“David is expected to be back to full fitness and available for selection in the upcoming weeks.”
Just like Luiz, fellow defender Tierney is also sidelined with a knee problem, but he has not been forced to undergo an operation like his teammate.
The Scotland international, who has been one of the Gunners’ star performers this season, is in danger of missing the remainder of the season after suffering ligament damage.
Arsenal expect him to be out of action for around four to six weeks, which means there is a genuine prospect that he may not play again this season.
However, Arsenal will be keeping their fingers crossed that he can make a swift return and be fit and available for Scotland at this summer’s European Championships.
Winger Saka was forced off with just over 20 minutes remaining of the Gunners’ win over Sheffield United on Sunday evening after feeling some discomfort in his thigh.
The England international was thought to have been withdrawn as a precautionary measure, so to not make the matter worse he was replaced by former Chelsea ace Willian.
Addressing Saka’s condition following the full-time whistle, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said: “(Saka) had some discomfort in his thigh. I don’t know what it is. The last thing we need is another issue because we have enough of that and are missing some big players at the moment.
“I don’t know the extent but we will see how it develops in the coming days.”
Fortunately, Saka, when spotted leaving Bramall Lane to board the team bus, was not using crutches.
Arsenal have now confirmed that the winger is in full training and available for selection for the clash against Slavia Prague.
Having overcome a slight ankle problem that he picked up on international duty during the recent break, Odegaard started the Gunners’ defeat to Liverpool at the start of April.
However, he has since missed the last two matches with another ankle issue, meaning he now faces a race against time to be fit for the trip to Prague.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Blades, Arsenal confirmed that the Real Madrid loanee would face a late fitness test to determine whether or not he could have made the squad. Of course, looking back now, he didn’t, but the fact that he faced a late test provides hope that he could be nearing a return.
Arsenal state that the midfielder is continuing to be assessed ahead of Thursday’s clash.
Emile Smith Rowe
Whilst the Gunners faced a left-back conundrum at Bramall Lane, they also faced a central attacking-midfield one, too, as Smith Rowe, alongside Odegaard, also missed out.
The Gunners academy graduate missed the trip to South Yorkshire because of an ankle injury he picked up in the first-leg against Slavia last week.
When asked if Smith Rowe, alongside Odegaard, would be fit for Thursday’s match, following Sunday’s win at Bramall Lane, Arteta said: “I don’t know. I want to think yes but if I’m honest I don’t know.”
However, Arsenal have now stated that Smith Rowe is back in full training and will be available for the match.
After twisting his ankle against the Blades, Brazilian star Martinelli, who finally ended his long wait for a goal, was another name to add to the Gunners’ growing list of concerns.
However, the attacker has since put those fears to bed, confirming that he will be available to feature against Slavia if called upon by Arteta.
Speaking to the Gunners’ club website, he, when asked if he was carrying an injury problem, said: “No, I am alright to play on Thursday.”
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Striker Aubameyang was forced to miss the win against the Blades through illness, meaning Arteta was unable to call upon his captain to inspire the Gunners to get back to winning ways.
However, Aubameyang soon took to social media to admit he was hopeful of returning to the squad for the trip to Prague.
In an Instagram post, the Gabon international said: “Gutted I can’t be out there with the team tonight, but hopefully back healthy on Thursday!”
“Let’s go boys!! @arsenal.”
Arsenal state that the striker is still being assessed for the clash on Thursday.