Henrikh Mkhitaryan to miss Arsenal’s Europa League tie with Qarabag due to safety concerns

Henrikh Mkhitaryan to miss Arsenal’s Europa League tie with Qarabag due to safety concerns

Ladbrokes offer bannerThe Gunners will be without their influential midfielder for this Thursday’s match with Qarabag following ongoing safety concerns

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will skip Arsenal’s Europa League Group E clash with Qarabag this week due to ongoing tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked mountainous area which has been the subject of dispute between the two countries since 1994.

The Gunners will be playing at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, the same stadium that will host the final next May, however Armenian nationals are currently not permitted to enter Azerbaijan following the ceasefire declared almost 25 years ago.

Exceptions can be made, though it is the decision of both the player and the club that Mkhitaryan will sit this fixture out, just like he did when his former side Borussia Dortmund travelled to Gabala in this same competition back in 2015.

“Safety and security of all our players and staff is always a top priority. We will be looking into this situation, talk to the player and make a decision after that.” Arsenal said after the draw for this match was made in late-August.

Following the convincing 4-2 win in their Europa League curtain-raiser against Ukrainian’s Vorskla a fortnight ago, which ensured Arsenal sit top of their qualifying group, the 29-year-old’s absence doesn’t look like it will affect the team too much this week.

So far this season, Mkhitaryan has struggled to make an impact, scoring just once in five games and after the recent performances of Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi, you would expect them to easily have enough about them to record a second European victory of the campaign without the Armenian on Thursday night.

Qarabag on the other hand fell to defeat in their Europa League opener, losing 2-0 away at Sporting Lisbon and currently sit bottom of Group E.

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