Arsenal will be without four key players for the trip to Ludogorets this evening. Nacho Monreal, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla will miss out again, but they are also joined by Hector Bellerin who picked up a knock in training.
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Match: Ludogorets v Arsenal
Stadium: Ludogorets Arena
Kick-Off (GMT): Tue 1 Nov 19:45
With the tough run of fixtures coming up, the last thing Arsenal need right now is more injuries but that is exactly what looks to be happening. Arsene Wenger confirmed that a key quartet of players has not travelled to Bulgaria for the Champions League match against Ludogorets this evening.
Nacho Monreal, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla all missed the trip to Sunderland last weekend and will once again sit this one out. The trio is joined on the sidelines by Hector Bellerin. The Spaniard has been an almost constant presence on Arsenal’s right flank this season but picked up an injury in training and will take no part in the match.
“Cazorla, Bellerin, Monreal and Walcott didn’t travel,” Wenger said in his pre-match press conference, “some of them are very close like Walcott.
“Bellerin had a little incident in the last minute of the training so they are all not here.
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“For us it’s a big game, you said if we win we can qualify but if we lose we can be in a difficult situation, we know the importance of the game is massive.”
Arsenal can qualify for knockout rounds if results go their way this evening, but Arsene Wenger has set his sights on finishing top of the group. The Gunners have finished second a number of times in recent years and have been handed much tougher last-16 draws as a result and Wenger is aware of it.
“We have paid the price many times by finishing second and playing against Barcelona or Bayern Munich, of course, we think it’s important,” Wenger said.
“It is an advantage because you play the second game in the last 16 at home so you know exactly what to achieve, you have the support if it goes to extra time if it goes to penalties.
“So it’s the little advantages that add to one another. As well if you can finish first then why finish second? That’s what we always try to do.
“It’s our prime target. First let’s go step by step, let’s qualify first. We had a draw away from at PSG, we play PSG at home so if we win against Ludogorets we have a good opportunity to do it.”
It’s always tough to play away from home in the Champions League but with the form Arsenal are on right now, it’s difficult to look past the Gunners. Hopefully, those four players will be back in the starting lineup for the North London Derby next weekend.