Arsenal midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil will miss the 2017/2018 UEFA Europa League last 32 clash against Swedish clubside Ostersunds on Thursday.
However, manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful they will feature in this weekend’s English League Cup final versus Manchester City.
Wenger took close to a full strength squad to Sweden for the first leg which his side won 3-0 last week.
He will now be looking forward to giving his younger players some game time on Thursday.
Ozil and Ramsey were involved in first team training on Wednesday but Wenger said the German playmaker had struggled with illness this week.
He added that the Wales international needs more time prove his fitness after returning from a groin injury.
“He (Ozil) was in bed Monday and Tuesday for sickness,’’ Wenger told a news conference. “I would certainly have used him, but because he was sick he will have to work hard tomorrow and will not be involved.
“Ramsey’s not in the squad tomorrow, he had a good training session. We will see how his evolution goes between now and (the League Cup final on) Sunday. I don’t rule him out.”
Wenger confirmed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be given the responsibility of producing chances going forward in the absence of Ozil, and Danny Welbeck will start upfront.
Goalkeeper David Ospina, who has been picked for the majority of Arsenal’s matches in Cup competitions this season, will keep his place ahead of first-choice Petr Cech.
Arsenal are sixth in the English Premier League, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.
They need to finish the season in top four or win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
When Wenger was asked whether he would prioritise the Europa League as Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho did last term, the Frenchman replied: “He did that much later, once they were in the semi-finals.
“We have to focus on the Premier League. It (Europa League) is one of the priorities we have. We are focused to do well. But ideally we want to come back to the Champions League through the Premier League.”(NAN)