Lacazette ruled out of Europa League last-16 clash

Arsenal attacker Alexandre Lacazette on the bench

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed striker Alexandre Lacazette will miss Thursday’s Europa League meeting with AC Milan and should return after the international break.

“Lacazette is coming back into training but is too short to be available for tomorrow (Milan). Yes, he’s on track (to return after the international break). He had a full session outside today and should be available after the break,” the long-serving boss said.

Lacazette has been out of action for a month, picking up a knee injury in early February. The French international missed both Europa League last-32 outings against Ostersunds FK and last Thursday’s last-16 clash with AC Milan.

And in addition to missing the EFL Cup final defeat, Lacazette was also absent for three Premier League outings, of which Arsenal managed just one win. His form has been patchy this season too, scoring just nine goals in 26 Premier League games, netting once since December 2017.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible to deputise against Milan, the Gunners may have to opt for Danny Welbeck up front. Arsenal have a 2-0 lead after winning at the San Siro last week so they’re in pole position to reach the quarter-finals.

Their form ahead of this week’s meeting is positive, boasting consecutive victories in all competitions without conceding, and a strong starting XI is expected from Wenger too. He’s taking no chances and should be able to get a result on home soil.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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