Fired-up Gunners out to maintain winning streak

PARIS • Unai Emery's Arsenal are looking to keep up their winning run when they make their longest-ever journey for a competitive game to face Qarabag in Azerbaijan in the Europa League today.

The Gunners have recovered from losing their opening two games under Emery and Saturday's 2-0 win over Watford in the Premier League was their seventh victory on the bounce.

An eighth successive win in all competitions would represent Arsenal's best run since early 2015, and it would leave them in a strong position to qualify from Group E after they began their European campaign by beating Ukraine's Vorskla 4-2.

Emery is likely to rest leading players for the 4,000km trip to the Olympic Stadium in Baku, which will host the final next May.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech is out for up to a month with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been left out given the long-standing political tensions between Azerbaijan and his native Armenia, whose citizens are banned from travelling to the country.

Arsenal will also play their first away game in this season's Europa League under the cloud of Aaron Ramsey's contract stand-off with the club. The midfielder is available on a free transfer in the summer and talks over a deal extension collapsed last week. According to the Mirror, Ramsey looks set to leave the Emirates in the January transfer window.

Unlike the Gunners, Premier League rivals Chelsea will enjoy the comforts of home today, hosting Hungarian champions Vidi.

Maurizio Sarri's team won their Group L opener, beating Paok 1-0 in Greece courtesy of Willian's goal, and they are on a strong run of form at the moment after an unbeaten start to the new campaign.

However, having drawn their last two league games, Chelsea are aiming to get back to winning ways.

"We have lost two points in both our last two games, so obviously we want to get three points," defender Cesar Azpilicueta said.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2018, with the headline 'Fired-up Gunners out to maintain winning streak'. Subscribe