Arsenal without Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Aubameyang for Qarabag tie

Unai Emery has confirmed Aaron Ramsey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all out of Arsenal's trip to Qarabag.

Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan   -  Getty Images

Arsenal will be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for their Europa League tie with Qarabag.

Armenia international Mkhitaryan has not travelled to Azerbaijan, with Aubameyang ill and Ramsey staying at home for the birth of his child. Petr Cech is also out with a hamstring injury, leaving Unai Emery to choose between Bernd Leno and Emiliano Martinez for Thursday's game in Baku.

Mkhitaryan is reportedly missing the game due to the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. When the midfielder was at Borussia Dortmund, he did not travel for the Bundesliga team's match against Azeri side Gabala.

However Emery was unwilling to go into much detail about why Mkhitaryan did not make the long trip for the Qarabag game.

"Mkhitaryan can't play tomorrow. Aubameyang was sick, he can't play. Aaron asked me if he could stay in London because he wife is pregnant and they are waiting," Emery told a news conference.

Expanding on why Mkhitaryan would not play, Emery added: "My work is football. I respect each person, each culture, each country, but I don't know each situation in every country. For me, he can't play tomorrow and I have respect for Mkhi and for you. Today we are here with the players to play."

Baku is set to host the 2018-19 Europa League final, leading to speculation Mkhitaryan would also miss that match should Arsenal reach the showpiece.

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"It's a long way away. We are thinking only about tomorrow and to work for the next matches. Tomorrow is very important for us. I am here to enjoy the match tomorrow," said Emery.

"We have a lot of respect for Qarabag. They started with a good performance against Sporting CP. They lost 2-0 but it was a good performance. The travel is long but that's not an excuse because we have done a lot of travel in our careers, the players and the coaches."

Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov accepted Mkhitaryan could have been targeted by home fans if he was playing for Arsenal on Thursday.

"I didn't want politics to interrupt the sport but we could not do anything on this issue. But Arsenal tried to save this player but it is not a matter for us if he is coming or not," said Gurbanov.

"If Henrikh Mkhitaryan would come to Azerbaijan it is not the first time, until now a lot of Armenian sportsmen came to Azerbaijan but it is the choice of Arsenal that they didn't send [him]. Arsenal may be afraid that in front of 60,000 Azerbaijani fans, Mkhitaryan has some pressure and that is why they didn't send Mkhitaryan."

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