The importance of securing Champions League football next season could see Arsenal - like Manchester United before them - prioritise winning the Europa League as their hopes of finishing inside the top four continued to fade with Saturday's loss to North London rivals Tottenham.
This, however, could prove a bit more challenging as Arsene Wenger confirmed in Wednesday's press-conference that the Gunners will be without six first team regulars - excluding Santi Cazorla - as they head into Thursday night’s Europa League clash against Swedish outfit Ostersund.
The French manager suggested that he would name a strong side for the game, but confirmed that a couple of key players had been left from the travelling squad as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
The key absentees include the injured Jack Wilshere, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and the cup-tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who is ineligible to feature due to his former club Borussia Dortmund's participation in the competition.
Wilshere, Koscielny, Cech, Aubameyang (ineligible) left behind and everyone else has travelled. One or two had recent problems, like Koscielny with his Achilles. Wilshere was more precautionary.” he is quoted as saying on the club’s official website.
Adding to Arsenal's bad luck with injuries, Aaron Ramsey seems unlikely to recover from his groin injury until the Carabao Cup final versus Premier League leaders Manchester City.
“It is a little bit sensitive case because we expected him to be a bit further in his development of the groin problem and he doesn’t move forward as quickly as we expected it. Today we would say that certainly he will not be available even for the next game against Ostersunds. Maybe for the cup final, we don’t know yet, it depends how he will progress from now,” Wenger added.
Arsenal head into their Round of 32 tie in stuttering form and there's no doubt Arsenal will miss their list of absentees for Thursday's clash, and Wenger will be hoping his replacements can slot in and do a job for the Premier League club as they continue their search for European glory.
In Ostersunds, however, Arsenal are facing a team well managed by Englishman Graham Potter and if the Swedish side's group stage performances against Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin were anything to go by, Arsenal could be facing a tough task in their search for Champions League football.