Date Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 6:54 pm
Arsenal stars celebrate with high morale after closing training sessions ahead of their Europa League game. against BATE Borisov The Gunners chances of making the Premier League top four is slim but are hoping to secure another Europa League glory which is a criterion to play next season UEFA Champions League football.
Boss Unai Emery watched his first-team players participate in a training match at their London Colney base after a series of technical drills. Immediately following the session, the players headed to Luton Airport in order to fly out to Belarus for the game on Thursday and the Unai Emery’s first-team squad appeared to be in high spirits after finishing their training game
Playmaker Mesut Ozil will hope for an opportunity to prove his worth to Unai Emery. The Spanish Manager has sidelined the German World Cup winner in his team this season, and that has seen Mesut Ozil not included in Arsenal important game. Meanwhile, the fans believed the presence of the German midfielder would have added a little effort to the team’s performance this season. The squad is flying out to Belarus ahead of their Europa League clash with BATE Borisov The return leg of their European knockout tie will be at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, February 21, with Europa League success now appearing to be the Gunners most likely route into the Champions League. Following Manchester United’s resurgent form Arsenal now find themselves in fifth place, one point behind their rivals in the final qualifying spot for Europe’s elite competition. In the wake of the club’s 2-1 Premier League win over Huddersfield on Saturday,
Emery admitted it would be ‘difficult’ to finish in the top four, but insisted his team would not give up the fight. He said: ‘After 26 games there is a one-point difference between us and Manchester United. ‘If we ask is it difficult for us, I think it’s difficult, but we can. After 26 games we are on our way and our motivation is very great and we’ve brought our target closer. ‘I am very happy. We were working well. Every player was working and helping each other and today I’m very proud of our work.’
Emery is a noted Europa League specialist, having led Sevilla to the title in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. The Spaniard also guided Arsenal to an unbeaten group stage campaign, with wins home and away over FK Qarabag and Vorksla Poltava. Danny Welbeck grabbed the winner in a crucial away win over Sporting Lisbon, only to suffer a serious ankle injury in the goalless return leg at the Emirates.
The players completed a series of exercises focusing on their ball control and dribbling
The Spaniard has a clipboard in hand as he makes final preparations for the Europa League tie Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ozil, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have all returned to training after knocks. Aaron Ramsey, who has confirmed his move to Juventus in the summer, is being assessed for a knee problem. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Welbeck remain absent as they recover from long-term injuries.
Lucas Torreira may continue his role at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield on Thursday
Having announced his intention to retire this summer, Petr Cech will want to end with a trophy
Youth team graduates Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi could both start the first-leg tie.
ARSENAL’S EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE
Sep 20 v Vorskla Poltava (h) 4-2
Oct 4 v FK Qarabag (a) 3-0
Oct 25 v Sporting Lisbon (a) 1-0
Nov 8 v Vorskla Poltava (a) 3-0
Nov 29 v Sporting Lisbon (h) 0-0
Dec 13 v FK Qarabag (h) 1-0 .
Photo credits: Gettyimages
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