Arsenal welcome Slavia Prague to The Emirates on Thursday night in what is the biggest game of their season thus far for a first-leg clash that could define their campaign.
With the Gunners domestic season falling well below expectations, the hopes of the Arsenal faithful fall firmly on the Europa League and using it as a back-door into the Champions League.
Arteta’s side take on a Slavia Prague side who should not be taken lightly, having already dumped both Leicester and high-flying Rangers out of the competition in earlier knockout rounds.
There will be little margin for error for Arsenal, with their first leg in north London Arteta’s men will be desperate to prevent Prague taking the tie back to their place with any kind of hopes of progression.
Arsenal know all too well that if they are to have the best chance of dispatching their Czech opponents, they will need a number of key players at their disposal come Thursday night, including a few who were forced to sit out Saturday night’s dismal showing against Liverpool.
Here is the very latest on the Arsenal injury front.
Bukayo Saka’s last league outing for Arsenal came away at West Ham, where the teenager played 74 minutes before being substituted with a hamstring strain.
The same knock ensured that Saka withdrew from the England squad with hopes that he would recover in time for the Liverpool clash, this proved not to be the case and the youngster now faces a race against the clock to be part of Arsenal’s biggest game of the season.
Emile Smith Rowe
Smith Rowe also failed to make the squad on Saturday due to what Arteta described as ‘tightness in his quad’. Though the playmaker could come back into contention on Thursday, he may only be selected on the substitutes’ bench as a precaution, before being introduced at a later stage.
Smith Rowe made a brief cameo in the 3-3 draw against West Ham, featuring in the last 16 minutes.
The Swiss midfielder has been somewhat of a stalwart in the Arsenal midfield since he signed in 2016, barely ever missing a fixture through injury.
However, Xhaka reportedly fell unwell on Friday morning, inevitably resulting in the midfielder being left out of the squad the following day against Liverpool.
He will most likely recover in time to regain his place in Arsenal’s midfield.
Every Arsenal fan watched on in horror as the Scottish left-back limped out of action against Liverpool in the second half.
Tierney has often struggled for a run of fitness since he joined the Gunners’ from Celtic, but was actually in the midst of his longest string of appearances for Arsenal prior to this latest knock.
It remains unclear whether Tierney will be fit enough to return in time for Thursday’s clash, his absence could prove vital as Arsenal aim to beat Slavia Prague without a recognised left-back.