Europa: Ramsey, Ozil to Miss Gunners' Clash with Ostersunds

Robert Pires Arsenal Europa League priority

The Gunners are 3-0 up from the first leg in Sweden last week as they bid to progress as far as possible in Europe's second tier club competition.

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Thursday, March 1 against Manchester City, four days after meeting them in the EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

This is Arsenal's eighth League Cup final - they've lost more than any other side in the history of the competition (5), winning the tournament twice in 1987 and 1993.

But it will not always be like this.

Yet Wenger rejected talk of focusing on the Europa League, describing it as "one of the priorities" rather than their main target.

The north London side are currently in sixth place in the Premier League table and their chances of finishing in the top four this term are now looking slim.

Meanwhile, Ostersunds also come into the second-leg clash on the back of the 3-0 result last week.

Now, former Arsenal star Pires believes the Gunners should follow the lead of Manchester United who ultimately prioritised gaining glory in the Europa League, which is of course offers an alternative way into the Champions League.

And it worked: United beat Ajax in the final to ensure they made it into this season's Champions League. "We have to focus on the Premier League".

There are some serious teams likely to be in the last-16: Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Napoli, RB Leipzig, Milan, Sporting and Marseille.

Arsenal are expected to rest first-team regulars against the Swedish visitors.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is, of course, cup-tied for this match, and neither Mesut Özil nor Aaron Ramsey will take part.

Arsene Wenger has expressed concern that Mesut Ozil has been ill for the fourth time in little over a year.

The 58-year-old steered Chelsea to a league and FA Cup double in his first season in charge after replacing Luiz Filipe Scolari in the summer of 2009. The Gunners are now the second favourites to win the Europa League at [5.3], with only Atletico Madrid ahead of them at [4.0].



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