According to a recent report by Sky Sports, Arsenal are in talks with their Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan over his availability for the UEFA Europa League final against Chelsea set to be held at Baku, Azerbaijan later this month. The same source has also revealed that Mkhitaryan might be ruled out of the clash due to his country, Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Sky Sports has claimed that the Gunners are also discussing the issue with UEFA, who are willing to help secure a visa for the playmaker to ensure he can travel in and out of Baku.
This recent development will be a bitter pill to swallow for Unai Emery as he prepares his side for their epic Europa League showdown versus the Pensioners on May 29th. Not having Mkhitaryan available will make it difficult for the North London outfit to get a positive result in the final as Emery does not have too many playmakers who are good enough to begin in his starting XI except for Aaron Ramsey (out injured) and Mesut Ozil.
Mkhitaryan’s Impressive Season At The Emirates
The Armenian international has enjoyed a fruitful season at the Emirates Stadium after putting in some mesmerising displays under Emery’s guidance during this campaign. The 30-year-old has featured in 39 matches for Arsenal this term, scoring six goals while grabbing seven assists (which includes his three assists in the Europa League) across all competitions.
What Does The Armenian Midfield Add To Emery’s Team?
The former Manchester United talent has incredible vision and can open up a rigid defence with a killer pass in the final third. Furthermore, he is a potent goal-threat from midfield; however, his record this season indicates that his productivity still has a lot of room for improvement in the coming years.
Mkhitaryan has also performed well against Chelsea in the recent meetings between the two clubs after he found the back of the net for Arsenal in their hard-fought 3-2 loss at Stamford Bridge earlier in this campaign.
Mkhitaryan’s Potential Exclusion: Big Blow For The Game Itself
The Armenian’s exclusion will be a massive boost for the Pensioners’ chances of lifting the cup. We must say it is a shame that politics will interfere with sports. Maybe UEFA will remember this the next they choose a venue for a European cup final.
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