Arsenal have been dealt an injury blow ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash at home to Qarabag as emerging star Emile Smith-Rowe will be unavailable for selection.
News of Smith-Rowe’s injury will come as a blow to Arsenal fans who would have been hopeful of watching their young attacker flourish in Europe once more. He has been a standout performer for the Gunners having scored twice already, and has caught the eye of the Emirates faithful with flashes of brilliance.
Reports, via Football.London, suggest the 18-year-old has picked up a ‘knock’ in training and won’t recover in time to be involved. The injury is however, described as ‘nothing serious’ and Arsenal fans can expect to see the youngster fit again very soon.
Despite injury to the Englishman, Emery told the media that he plans to ring the changes due to the manic festive period:
“Our first aim in this competition, we have done, which was to be first in the group. But we respect this competition and we respect Qarabag and so our objective is to win and we are going to give players chances to take responsibility, take rhythm and take confidence.
“Because we are going to play a lot of matches, in the next 10 days we play four matches – each of them very important – so we are going to use some different players with players coming from the under-23 team.” the Spaniard added.
Mesut Ozil could be in line for his first start since early November following a mysterious back injury which has caused much debate and raised question marks over his suitability to Emery’s high intensity style of play. Laurent Koscielny is also expected to start following his long awaited return from an achilles injury that he sustained in May.