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Qarabag v Arsenal Europa League preview and early team news

PUBLISHED: 12:36 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 October 2018

Qarabag are hosting Arsenal in Baku. CREDIT: Matt McGeehanPA Wire

Qarabag are hosting Arsenal in Baku. CREDIT: Matt McGeehanPA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal travel to Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag in the Europa League after a spell of four home matches in a row.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PAArsenal manager Unai Emery on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PA

Unai Emery’s side have recovered after losing their first two matches of the season, against champions Manchester City at the Emirates and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners rallied since then winning seven on the bounce and approach the match at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium in Baku with confidence.

The two teams have not played each other before but Chelsea routed Qarabag twice in the Europa League last season - 6-0 at home and 4-0 away.

The Gunners got their European campaign off to a good start when they beat Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava 4-2 in their Group E opener – while Qarabag fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech (right) is replaced by team-mate Bernd Leno (pic Yui Mok/PA)Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech (right) is replaced by team-mate Bernd Leno (pic Yui Mok/PA)

Qarabag compete in an eight-team league in Azerbaijan and are unbeaten, having won five matches and drawn once. Their last match saw them win 2-0 away against FK Sabah on Saturday.

Arsenal will be without Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan who has not travelled to Azerbaijan due to safety concerns.

Eddie Nketiah, Dejan Iliev, Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira are among the players who boarded the flight to Baku on Wednesday morning.

The match, which kicks-off at 5.55pm UK time will be televised live on BT Sport 2.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery gestures on the touchline at St James' Park, Newcastle (pic Owen Humphreys/PA)Arsenal manager Unai Emery gestures on the touchline at St James' Park, Newcastle (pic Owen Humphreys/PA)

Emery’s side will fly back to take on newly-promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday lunchtime.

Summer signing Bernd Leno, who will be expected to start his first Premier League match since joining the club after Petr Cech picked up a hamstring injury which could keep him out of action for a month.

Captain Laurent Koscielny remains sidelined along with Ashley Maitland-Niles, Carl Jenkinson and Mavropanos, but Sead Kolasinac is expected to be available for selection.

Fulham have picked up five points from their opening seven matches including only four points from their three home fixtures.

Arsenal’s last visit to the Cottage was a 3-1 victory in August 2013 when a brace from Lukas Podolski and one from Olivier Giroud sealed the win.

The Gunners lead the Cottagers in the head-to-head between the sides with 37 wins from 55 matches in the series stretching back to 1904.

The West Londoners in contrast have only beaten Arsenal eight times in 114 years, with their last win coming in a 2-1 defeat by the Thames 24 hours after New Year’s Day 2012.

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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