Published: Wed, May 22, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Mkhitaryan to miss Europa League final

Mkhitaryan to miss Europa League final

Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play for Arsenal in the Europa League final against Chelsea next week because of concerns about political tension between his native Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is hosting the game.

Speaking of the situation, Venkatesham said: "I struggle to find the words about how strongly I feel".

"We made our point clearly to UEFA, we have written to them".

"While the club acknowledges the efforts that UEFA and the Azeri government have gone to in this matter, we respect the personal decision not to travel with the player".

Chelsea legend Pat Nevin is sure it will be harder for the Blues to win the Europa League against Arsenal without the services of the injured Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

"It's the kind of game that doesn't come along very often for us players, " Mkhitaryan said on his social media channels, "and I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it". Armenia and Azerbaijan have a century-long conflict stemming from the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, which has caused concern for Mkhitaryan's safety.

Emery, a three-time Europa League victor with Sevilla, indicated the decision was made by Mkhitaryan and not the club, but he understands the midfielder's reasoning.

"For him and for me, it's very important to (have his) help with his quality and his capacity, but these issues are out of my hands and I understand 100 per cent".

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"In the best interest of the Sport we all love, we ask both teams to pull out of the Europa League Final, to send a clear message to UEFA that no player should be left behind for "security reasons".

"We are preparing this match like we did during an global break".

Mkhitaryan's absence, in addition to that of the injured Aaron Ramsey, who is departing for Juventus, increases Mesut Ozil's hopes of starting at the Baku Olympic Stadium.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is likely to start in Baku (Nick Potts/PA).

"Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective", the club said in its May 21 statement. During the first half of the season, Maurizio Sarri opted to play Morata over him.

Arsenal had not said publicly whether the assurances were sufficient.

"I will just sit at home and I will see what will come - but now really I concentrate on these last weeks, the final, I want to win it, that is all I want".

"I enjoyed the years I spent there".

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