Arsenal are facing an injury crisis ahead of their Europa League quarter-final clash against CSKA Moscow on Thursday, with striker Danny Welbeck expected to miss out through injury.
Welbeck was substituted in Arsenal's 3-0 victory against Stoke at the weekend, and Arsene Wenger confirmed to the Gunners' official website after the game that it was a forced change, with the striker suffering from a back problem.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unavailable for selection on Thursday due to a technicality having previously played in the Champions League for Dortmund, who were later placed in the Europa League having finished only third in their group.
🗣 "I’m buzzing for Laca. I know how hard he’s worked. He didn’t take his injury well, but nobody does. He was down but he knew what it takes to come back... it’s good for the team, good for him and I’m happy for him."@JackWilshere on @LacazetteAlex 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/4Im4kqjsrl— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 2, 2018
That leaves Wenger with only one senior attacking option in Alexandre Lacazette. The former Lyon striker, who has only recently returned from a knee injury, scored his first goal for the club since January at the weekend from the penalty spot.
Nevertheless, the Arsenal boss has hinted that he may not risk starting Lacazzete, who is yet to regain full match fitness.
“I don’t know. We’ll have to wait a bit to make that decision," Wenger said at the weekend, as quoted by football.london.
“He’s still lacking a competitive edge a bit. He has been out for two months, he worked hard. He still lacks a fraction maybe. In training he looks sharp. How long can he last in a game? I don’t know. He needs one or two more games.”
Instead, Wenger could entrust youngster Eddie Nketiah with his first start for the Gunners. The 18-year-old has come off the bench on five occasions for the north London club in the Europa League so far this season; although, he is yet to score a goal in the competition.