Arsenal will have to make do without the services of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohamed Elneny for the first leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed on Wednesday.
“(Henrikh) Mkhitaryan is not back in the squad and Mohamed Elneny is out for the rest of the season,” Wenger revealed at his pre-match presser.
The Premier League outfit host the Rojiblancos at the Emirates for the first leg on Thursday, before traveling to the Spanish capital for the return leg next week.
While the Armenian remains in contention to feature against his old club Manchester United on the weekend, it looks like Elneny might be able to feature in the Gunners’ final Premier League game of the season, a home fixture with Huddersfield Town on May 13.
However, Wenger remained hopeful that the Egyptian midfielder would be fit by the time the 2018 FIFA World Cup come around as he added, “He (Elneny) has a little chance to play at Huddersfield. I think he will be available for Egypt at the World Cup.”
Should the North Londoners overcome the Spanish giants, who themselves are struggling with a raft of injuries, they will be within sight of UEFA Champions League qualification.
Apart from the aforementioned duo, the North Londoners will also have to make do without club record-signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is cup-tied.
The other Europa League semi-final sees Ligue 1 outfit Olymique Marseille take on Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.
For the winners of the second-tier continental competition automatically secure a spot for next season’s Champions League.
And with Wenger due to step down at the end of the season, winning a trophy in his final season in charge has now become to sole aim for the club as they aim to finish a turbulent season on a high.