Three time Europa League winner Unai Emery says Arsenal have to manage the long distance away games.
The group stage draws for the 2018/19 Europa league were made in Monaco, with Arsenal and Chelsea being considered as the strong favourites to lift the cup. The North Londoners placed in a rather easy group E with Sporting CP (POR), Qarabağ (AZE) and Vorskla Poltava (UKR). The Gunners will look to top the group against the likes of Sporting Club de Portugal who are going through a transition of their own.
“First it’s three teams and we’ll have the recipe for them. After this, we want to go far in this competition”, said the 46-year-old.
Arsenal lost 1-2 to Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the 2017/18 edition of the Europa League who then went on to win the cup. Emery’s side will be looking forward to the competition with an experienced manager and an exciting squad.
The Emirates will be travelling to far Eastern European countries for the group stage matches and this might affect the teams fitness. The former Sevilla boss could use different combinations and players in the group stage to rest some players of the first team.
Meanwhile, @Arsenal's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 29, may be unable to play for the Gunners when they face Qarabag FK in the Europa League because of political unrest between Armenia and Azerbaijan. (Mirror)
— Premier League News (@BarclaysLeague) September 1, 2018
Bernd Leno might finally start at his new club and will look to impress the gaffer. Mattéo Guendouzi will surely be starting, after arguably being the best Arsenal player in the first three matches of the Premier League. Stephan Lichtsteiner will be expected to start over Hector Bellerin as he’s likely to be rested.
Since the competition in the English league has increased tremendously, winning the Europa League might be an easier way to qualify for the Champions league and Emery should play his best XI in the later stages of the competition. Along with Arsenal, Chelsea are considered the favourites, and it won’t be surprising if they face each other in the finals.
Unai Emery insists Arsenal should embrace the long-distance travel thrown up by the Uefa Europa League draw.
The Gunners face trips totalling around 15,000 miles after being paired with Sporting Lisbon, Qarabag of Azerbaijan and Ukrainian side Vorskla in Group E. pic.twitter.com/JGpCmLTebE
— Stevo⚽ (@Steve1886) September 1, 2018
INJURY UPDATE [via Football.London]
- Laurent Koscielny will return sooner than expected and will train with rest of the squad in 3 months. He ruptured Achilles tendon during Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid back in May.
- Mesut Ozil is also expected to return against Cardiff city after being sidelined due to an illness against Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham Utd.
- Sead Kolasinac was injured against Chelsea in International Champions Cup and will return within 4 weeks. He injured his left knee and is expected to return by October.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles fractured his left fibula and is expected to return by November.