Arsenal welcome already eliminated side Qarabag to the Emirates stadium in what is likely a warm-up match for them. The Gunners have already qualified for the knockout round while the visitors have already crashed out of the competition.
Arsenal qualified leaders with an easy 3-0 win at Vorskla Poltava two weeks ago and are now looking to keep their momentum going ahead of the busy festive period.
In the match against the Ukranians, goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Willock gave an experimental Arsenal side a convincing victory in Ukraine last month, setting up what is effectively a dead rubber in North London on Thursday night.
Emery’s boys are currently in the form of their lives, boasting a 21-match unbeaten streak in all competitions following their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at the weekend, secured through another Lucas Torreira strike.
Unai Emery, who has won the competition three times before will be looking to adda fourth by continuing to compete in the knockout stages.
Laurent Koscielny is back after a 7-month absence due to injury and he may be lined up to start. Mesut Ozil and Ramsey remain doubtful for the match while Iwobi, Guendouzi and Sokratis are likely starters.
Arsenal possible starting eleven:
Cech; Jenkinson, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles; Elneny, Guendouzi; Willock, Smith Rowe, Iwobi; Nketiah
Sporting Lisbon put the final nail in the coffin of Qarabag’s exit from the competition. It was a 6-1 drubbing, and also their heaviest European home loss ever. They know they have nothing to play for in this match against the Gunners.
Qarabag have featured in either the Europa League or Champions League group stage in each of the last five seasons, but they have taken their eye off the ball domestically this season, finding themselves three points adrift of Neftci Baku in the Azerbaijani Premier League.
Also seven of Qarabag’s ten Europa League group matches away from home have ended in defeat, scoring just three times in the last six of those, although they have conceded more than once on just one occasion during that run – again at the hands of Sporting.
Nigerian Innocent Emeghara is out injured and will likely be out until the New Year and so Araz Abdullayev will likely to called in to replace him. Every other player is fit and selection ready.
Qarabag possible starting eleven:
Vagner; Medvedev, Sadiqov, Rzezniczak, Guerrier; Qarayev, Michel; Madatov, Ozobic, Zoubir; Abdullayev