Mesut Ozil will not travel for Arsenal’s Europa League round of 32 first-leg clash with Olympiacos due to personal reasons.
The Gunners face the Greek Super League leaders in Athens on Thursday night but Ozil will play no part as the PA news agency understand his wife is close to giving birth.
While Ozil misses out, midfielder Matteo Guendouzi returns to the squad having been dropped for Sunday’s 4-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle amid rumours of a fall-out with head coach Mikel Arteta.
Lucas Torreira has also remained in London due to illness but could fly out on the day of the game if his condition improves, while January signing Pablo Mari could be in line for his debut.
The fixture at the Karaiskakis Stadium will be Arteta’s first European game as Arsenal boss.
He will be looking to go one better than predecessor Unai Emery, who guided Arsenal to last year’s Europa League final where they lost 4-1 to Chelsea.
Winning the competition this season appears to be the best chance for Arteta to secure a return to Champions League football.
Even with a potential ban for Manchester City meaning a fifth-placed Premier League finish could be enough to qualify for the Champions League, Arsenal’s prospects remain low.
The win over Newcastle moved the Gunners up to 10th in the table but they remain six points behind rivals Tottenham in fifth.
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