London, Wednesday @PeopleSports11
Aaron Ramsey is set to return to the Arsenal squad for their Europa League clash with BATE Borisov. Ramsey sat out last week’s defeat in Belarus with a knee problem but has returned to full training.
The Welshman, who will join Juventus on a free transfer this summer, could be brought into the starting line-up after the disappointing performance in the first leg.
Mesut Ozil was also missing from that one despite returning to training and it remains to be seen if he is involved at the Emirates on Thursday night.
Unai Emery will be forced into a reshuffle with striker Alexandre Lacazette suspended after he was sent off for an elbow. Sokratis could also return to an Arsenal defence that has appeared leaky in his absence. The defender picked up an ankle injury in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United but is hopeful of making a return.
Emery must decide whether to risk the Greek or rest him ahead of the weekend clash with Southampton .
Arsenal still have a number of long-term injury concerns though with Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck remaining sidelined.The Gunners trail 1-0 from a disappointing first leg in Belarus but will be hopeful of overturning the deficit.
Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri has reported three of our players are doubts for tomorrow’s match against Malmo. Sarri reported Kepa Arrizabalaga has a hamstring problem and is very unlikely to play tomorrow night. He hopes to have the goalkeeper available for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
Also struggling are Pedro, who has a ‘very strong’ stomach ache, and Davide Zappacosta, who is suffering from a fever. ‘We have some problems at the moment,’ Sarri said. ‘We have Zappacosta with fever, we have Pedro with a very strong stomach ache, and then we have a problem with Kepa, with his hamstring.’
Asked if he thought the Spanish goalkeeper would be fit for Sunday’s showpiece at Wembley, the boss responded: ‘I hope so. I am not sure at the moment, but I hope so.’
On tomorrow night’s match against Malmo, Sarri warned against complacency. We go into the second leg at Stamford Bridge with a 2-1 lead having emerged victorious in Sweden last week, but Sarri insisted we must take nothing for granted and highlighted Malmo’s last European away result which secured their place in the knockout stages of this competition.
‘Tomorrow is a chance to qualify and we have to only think about this at the moment. ‘We need to be focused on this match because it’s not easy. They are a physical team, very dangerous in the opposition box and from set-pieces, and they are very dangerous away. They qualified away, in Istanbul, against a very good team, Besiktas. We need to be careful.’ -FOTMOB