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Football Reporting


How Arsenal could line up against Slavia Prague in Europa League with Tierney and Luiz OUT and Odegaard an injury doubt

ARSENAL host Slavia Prague in the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.

And Mikel Arteta has some selection dilemmas on his hands with Kieran Tierney and David Luiz out injured with Martin Odegaard also a doubt.

How Arsenal could line up for their Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague
How Arsenal could line up for their Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague

The Gunners gave an injury update on Wednesday afternoon which also included some positive injury news.

Bukayo Saka is back in training and available for selection after a right hamstring injury.

Emile Smith Rowe and Granit Xhaka are also back having been out with a right thigh problem and illness respectively.

Arteta will be buoyed by the trio’s return but he faces a selection dilemma at the back with Luiz and Tierney missing.

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Luiz underwent a procedure on his right knee at the weekend and will be out for several weeks.

Tierney damaged ligaments in his left knee in Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing by Liverpool.

Fortunately the Scot does not have to have surgery but Arsenal do not expect him back in training for between four and six weeks.

Further up the pitch, Odegaard faces a late fitness test having struggled with a right ankle problem since returning from international duty with Norway.

Martin Odegaard faces a late fitness test to determine whether he is fit to play
Martin Odegaard faces a late fitness test to determine whether he is fit to play

And Arteta could ring the changes in attack after Gary Neville criticised Saturday’s front six for ‘playing like a mafia’.

The Sky Sports pundit said: “I was really uncomfortable with what I saw. There have been a number of times in the last ten years when I’ve been doing MNF where my anger has emerged and grown over a couple of days after the game. And it happens very rarely…

“But I have to say, coming out of Saturday – and we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes – there was a few of those players in the front part of the pitch – it looked like a little mafia.

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“It looked like a little group of players who weren’t comfortable – like there was a disconnect between them and the manager. The manager looked like he’s had enough of them – he had that glazed eye look.”

And circling Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Odegaard, Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Thomas Partey on his interactive screen, Neville added: “What was really different was the effort – or lack of it – of the front six.

“Odegaard a few times did try and put a bit of a press on but he was on his own. But the rest of them… I’d go as far to say they were a joke.

“I think Arteta will have come away from that game on Saturday thinking ‘It’s me or them’.”

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