Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners over Sheffield United on Sunday evening to move back into the top half of the Premier League table.
However, it is the Europa League where the Gunners‘ priority lies as it is Mikel Arteta’s only route into the Champions League next season as he aims to end a four-year absence from Europe’s top table.
Victory over Sheffield United came at a cost with Bukayo Saka forced off with a thigh injury, adding to Arteta’s injury woes.
The Gunners went into the fixture without the services of Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the manager has issued an update on his injured stars.
Bukayo Saka, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney
Speaking about Saka, Arteta said: “I don’t know, he had to come off, he had some discomfort in his thigh. ‘It’s the last thing that we need because we’re missing some big players at the moment and we don’t want to lose another one.
‘I don’t know the extent. I think for Thursday David [Luiz] will be out, Kieran [Tierney] will be out, Emile and Martin we don’t know yet. And Bukayo we’ll see how he will develop in the next few days.”
Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe
The manager added his thoughts on the availability of Odegaard and Smith Rowe for the Europa League clash.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I want to think yes but if I’m honest I don’t know.”
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There was some positive news on the injury front for the Gunners with Aubameyang said to be on the mend after suffering an illness last week.
“He wasn’t well yesterday, he could not train, he could not be available today, but hopefully in the next day or two he will be feeling better and he will be available,” said Arteta.
With the Europa League quarter-final first leg finishing 1-1 giving Slavia the advantage courtesy of an away goal, Arteta will be hoping to have as many of his key players available as possible, or European football next season could soon be out of reach for the Gunners.