Arsenal is well on the verge of qualifying for a first European semi-final in nine years after recording a comprehensive 4-1 Europa League quarter-final first leg win over CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger has never won a match in three previous visits to Russia with Arsenal. However, it will take a monumental collapse for Arsenal to throw away a three-goal advantage from the first leg.
CSKA Moscow was shocked at home on Monday, losing 2-1 to local rivals Dynamo Moscow in a Russian Premier League match, and history is not on their side, only once has a team overturned a three-goal first leg deficit in a Europa League knockout tie and that was Valencia against Basel in 2014.
Arsenal’s focus is firmly on Europa League success, with little or nothing to play for at the home front, the Europa League is their only route to Champions League football next season and Arsene Wenger is set to field first team regulars including Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil in the match.
Granit Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final second-leg clash with CSKA Moscow in Russia on Thursday. The Switzerland midfielder has been left at home as he is suffering from flu.
David Ospina (ankle), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (knee) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles) are also missing while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is cup-tied.
CSKA has Kirill Nabakin available again after suspension.
CSKA Moscow (5-3-2): Akinfeev; Nababkin, A Berezutski, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Kuchaev; Dzagoev, Natcho, Golovkin; Musa, Wembloom
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny, Ramsey; Ozil, Wilshere, Welbeck; Lacazette
CSKA Moscow will host Arsenal at VEB Arena with kick-off scheduled for 8.05pm on Thursday, April 12.