Arsenal face CSKA Europa League dilemma
PUBLISHED: 17:31 01 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 01 April 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Arsene Wenger is facing a selection dilemma up front ahead of Thursday's crunch Europa League clash at home against CSKA Moscow.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible to play in the second-tier European competition, Wenger has just Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck at his disposal.
Lacazette returned with a bang on Sunday as Arsenal comfortably beat Stoke 3-0 at the Emirates, scoring the third and final goal from the penalty spot after replacing Danny Welbeck.
But speaking following the final whistle, Wenger has revealed that the Frenchman is still not 100 per cent match fit, while Welbeck was taken off as he suffered a slight injury to his back ahead of Thursday’s first-leg.
On Lacazette’s sharpness, Wenger said: ‘He is still lacking a bit of a competitive edge, he has been out for two months.
‘He has worked hard but he still lacks a fraction maybe but in training he looks sharp. How long can he last in a game, I don’t know. He certainly needs one or two more games. ‘
Welbeck, who scored twice against AC Milan at home in the last round of the Europa League, appears to be a doubt for Thursday.
The England World Cup hopeful was replaced 61 minutes into the match by Lacazette, appearing to hold his back as he trudged off the pitch.
And after the game, Wenger admitted: ‘Welbeck had a back problem yes.’
Following a very slow first half at the Emirates on Easter Sunday, Arsenal stepped up their game and a brace from Aubameyang and a late goal from Lacazette ensured Arsenal recorded back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time since November.
With top four seemingly out of sight for the Gunners, Arsenal’s best chance of getting back into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League.
Wenger will be desperate that Welbeck and Lacazette prove their match fitness in the next three days at London Colney as they prepare for the first-leg against the Russian outfit.