Arsenal Fly Out To Sweden For Europa League Clash With Ostersunds With Henrikh Mkhitaryan In Line For His Gunners European Bow

The Europa League may be Arsenal's best chance of returning to Europe's elite competition

Arsenal have a lot to live up to in Europe this week, after rivals Tottenham Hotspur made their impressive comeback against Juventus in the Champions League. 

While the Gunners are playing a step down from Spurs, in the Europa League, they will be keen to impress when they face Ostersunds in Sweden on Thursday.

The players flew out from Luton airport to Scandinavia on Wednesday, for a game where they are clear favourites against the competition’s surprise package.

Among those on the plane was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is in line for his European debut for Arsenal after moving from Manchester United in a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez in January.

It will also be the first time Mkhitaryan wears the No 77 for Arsenal – he cannot wear the regular No 7 he does in the Premier League, as Sanchez has already used it in the competition.

Absent from the flight was Arsenal’s other big money winter signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He is ineligible, despite not having played in the Europa League this season.

The reason the £57m club record signing cannot feature is because his former club, Borussia Dortmund, have dropped into the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group.

For Arsenal, a run in the Europa League may represent their best chance of getting back into the top rung of continental competition next season.

Arsenal are eight points off the top four, having lost 1-0 to Spurs in the North London derby last weekend – another reason for them to want to match their neighbours.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to make his first start in Europe after joining Arsenal in January

Welbeck and Sead Kolasinac share a joke as they prepare for take-off on Wednesday

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