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Team news: Arsenal without 7 first team regulars for Ostensunds clash

By on February 14, 2018

aaron ramsey arsenal

Arsene Wenger has provided the latest team news ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League last-32 first leg clash with Ostensunds on Thursday evening.

Unfortunately, the boss has offered a worrying update on Aaron Ramsey as the midfielders groin injury is worse than first thought and he’s certain to miss both legs against the Swedish minnows.

Ramsey missed the defeat at Tottenham on Saturday and is now facing a race against time to be available for the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City later this month.

Wenger has also decided not to risk Laurent Koscielny as his dodgy Achilles injury could be aggravated on the frozen artificial pitch while Petr Cech has also been left back in north London.

Jack Wilshere has also been left at home to rest as he’s been ill recently and no doubt Wenger is also looking to protect the injury-prone midfielder from playing on the plastic pitch tomorrow.

Obviously Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn’t travelled as he’s cup tied while Alexandre Lacazette also misses out after being ruled out for at least four weeks following knee surgery.

With Santi Cazorla also still missing as he continues to recover from a long-term Achilles injury it means Arsenal will be without seven first team regulars for the Europa League clash tomorrow evening.

Wenger told Arsenal.com:

on who hasn’t travelled…
Wilshere, Koscielny, Cech, Aubameyang (ineligible) left behind and everyone else has travelled.

on whether the pitch was a reason for leaving some players behind…
One or two had recent problems, like Koscielny with his Achilles. Wilshere was more precautionary.

on if those precautions are because of the playing surface…
I don’t know exactly what the pitch is about, but I wanted to rest Jack because he was sick before the game against Spurs.

on Ramsey…
It is a little bit sensitive case because we expected him to be a bit further in his development of the groin problem and he doesn’t move forward as quickly as we expected it. Today we would say that certainly he will not be available even for the next game against Ostersunds. Maybe for the cup final, we don’t know yet, it depends how he will progress from now.

David Ospina is now set to start in goal while I expect Rob Holding will get the nod to start alongside Shkodran Mustafi in defence – although it will be interesting to see who plays in midfield with Ramsey and Wilshere not available.

Our options are slightly more straightforward up front as Wenger has little choice but to start Danny Welbeck with youngster Eddie Nketiah offering an option from the bench.

It’s not the ideal situation heading in to what’s become an important game as the Europa League is now our best shot at qualifying for the Champions League next season.

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