As Arsenal prepare to get the 2019/20 Europa League competition underway, Unai Emery has revealed his first travelling squad of the campaign for Thursday's clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Having already revealed the Gunners’ injury blows, the revelation of the travelling team was set to be one of expectation for supporters, offering an insight into the manager's game plan. However, some key stars have been omitted from the squad.
After making his return in a forgettable 2-2 draw against Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday, midfielder Mesut Ozil is one of those to miss out, having not travelled to Frankfurt with his teammates. With no suspected injury recorded, his absence remains a mystery.
Can Arsenal adapt without Lacazette?
Alex Lacazette is a clear missing figure following the news of his ongoing battle with an ankle injury which is set to leave him on the side-lines for at least a month. Whilst Arsenal have a rich attacking talent in their squad, Lacazette’s injury could prove to be a slight burden to his strike partner Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
The duo have formed a formidable partnership leading the line for the Gunners, complimenting each other's style one the field when required. Thus, the loss of Lacazette leaves Arsenal with a predicament, with Aubameyang left as the only ‘reliable goal-getter' in the squad.
Questions will be asked as to whether Emery will make a change to tactics without the Frenchman in the squad, whose composure and ability to switch a game will be greatly missed in the next few weeks.
Defensive boost as Holding returns
Whilst a slight shortage up front is discussed, a returning face in defence is celebrated as Rob Holding has been confirmed as a travelling member of the Arsenal squad. The Englishman, who was injured at Old Trafford back in December, has completed his rehabilitation and is expected to feature in the coming weeks for the Gunners.
Despite returning to training earlier this week, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney will not travel to Frankfurt, nor will Sokratis, who has not been named in the squad for unknown reasons.
Thursday's clash will be a big test for the Gunners, who face last season's Europa League semi-finalists in their opening game. However the combination of youth and first team players remains, particularly in the midfield where Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock and forward Bukayo Saka are featured.
After a steady start to the season, Arsenal are in need of securing a win in Frankfurt while playing to a more convincing ability to that that was on display in Watford last weekend. A strong start in Emery's favourite competition could see them build some valuable momentum to take back into the Premier League campaign.