Published: Fri, August 31, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Europa League draw puts Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan's availability in doubt

Europa League draw puts Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan's availability in doubt

There is an underlying subplot to the game, with Gers boss Steven Gerrard in direct competition against his former manager Brendan Rodgers in the opposite dugout.

His Scottish Premiership side came close yesterday though, as they edged a 1-1 draw against FC Ufa, which saw them qualify for the Europa League after winning 2-1 on aggregate.

UEFA representatives are said to have sat down with members of the European Club Association and it was decided that, based on the growing popularity and attractiveness of the Europa League, a third competition would be ideal as there are many marketing opportunities to exploit. "That's the ideal competition to win because you win a trophy, which a lot of clubs are still waiting for".

The ex-England captain told reporters: "It's a big game on Sunday against a tough team so we have to recover and prepare well".

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could well be unable to play in Arsenal's visit to Qarabag in the Europa League, while he could also miss the final itself if the Gunners get there.

According to Vivaro News, Armenian players are now banned from entering Azerbaijan due to tensions between the bordering rivals.

Mkhitaryan's availability for the Europa League final, should Arsenal reach it, may also be in jeopardy as the game will be hosted at the Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan's capital in Baku.

UEFA are prepared to help Mkhitaryan feature in Azerbaijan, though it's a doubt whether exceptions will be made.

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