Having already secured top spot in our Europa League group, the pressure is off for Thursday night’s game against Qarabag.
But will it mean a first appearance in seven months for Laurent Koscielny, and a return to the team after a back injury for Mesut Ozil?
This is what Unai Emery told the media on Wednesday:
on how will approach the game in terms of squad rotation…
Good afternoon. Our first aim in this competition, we have done, which was to be first in the group. But we respect this competition and we respect Qarabag and tomorrow our objective is to win and we are going to give players chances tomorrow to take responsibility, take rhythm and take confidence. Also, because we are going to play a lot of matches, in the next 10 days we play four matches - each of them very important - so in the Europa League our first objective we did it, so tomorrow we are going to use some different players with also players coming from the under-23 team and also it is in our planning to start with Laurent Koscielny.
on Koscielny and whether he could play v Southampton…
We have some players with injuries at centre back and also with these injuries are Mavropanos and Rob Holding and a few out [suspended] with yellow cards. We are going to decide after tomorrow’s match, as its the first match with us that Laurent Koscielny will play. We are going to look also if he can play 90 minutes or less minutes in this game. We can use another player in this position, someone like Nacho Monreal, who is also with us and in his career he played in this position [before]. We are going to decide but the first is to think about the match tomorrow because we need to receive information on how he can feel tomorrow.
on Mesut Ozil…
I don’t know. Tomorrow he is in the group, there are 18 players in the squad for this match and I am going to decide if he plays tomorrow from the beginning or during the match in the 90 minutes.
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