Arsenal traveled to Azerbaijan with Danny Welbeck back in the squad today for their upcoming Europa League final in Baku against local rivals Chelsea.
And though the official squad that traveled to Baku hasn’t been completely made public, here’s what we know as of now:
The Gunners have been blessed with the early return of Welbeck, who suffered a horrific ankle injury back in November against Sporting CP in a Europa League fixture. The forward featured in a closed-door friendly match recently and according to David Ornstein, recorded a hatrick in the game.
Goalkeepers who have made the trip include Bernd Leno, Dejan Iliev and Pete Cech. Cech seems likely to remain as designated keeper for Cup games despite the latest rumours of his return to Chelsea.
Stephan Lichtsteiner, Carl Jenkinson, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Paspastathopoulos, Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac make up the defenders who were on that flight to Baku.
Several youngsters accompany the team for the final, including Joe Willock, Xavier Amaechi, Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Welbeck last minute winner incoming……
Arsenal are on their way to Baku. Saka and Amaechi are both with the travelling squad pic.twitter.com/3R6k57QnVc
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) May 25, 2019
Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mesut Özil, Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have all made the trip as expected, with Welbeck being a convenient additional.
However, Unai Emery will be left without several key players. Rob Holding is still recovering from his ligament injury and won’t be back until next season. Holding will be kept company by Hector Bellerín who suffered a similar injury and is expected to return to action only next season.
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Aaron Ramsey picked up a hamstring injury during the quarter-final second leg against Napoli and won’t recover until he’s officially a Juventus player.
And finally, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been controversially forced to be left behind due to the political tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The club have publicly expressed their disappointed and UEFA’s inability to choose appropriate venues and protect players.
Nevertheless, with Chelsea also having their fair share of injury woes, Emery’s may be a bit more calm as the final approaches on the 29th of May, Thursday.