5 things we spotted as Arsenal trained ahead of Europa League clash

Alright, be honest. How many of you Arsenal fans had heard of Vorskla before the Gunners drew them in this season’s Europa League?

We’re still waiting…

Yeah, exactly.

They’re still going to take some beating though, and Unai Emery’s men open their European campaign with the visit of the Ukrainians on Thursday in a match that – on paper at least – looks to be the perfect opener for them.

Emery was a Europa League specialist when at previous club Sevilla, and he’ll be targeting this game as the perfect chance to keep up his new side’s recently encouraging form which has seen them beat West Ham , Cardiff and Newcastle .

Here’s what was going on during Emery’s session at London Colney.

1. Time for Lichtsteiner to put his hand up?

It has been a slow start to Arsenal life for Stephan Lichtsteiner.

The experienced Swiss international would have known that he faced a fight to get past Hector Bellerin and force his way into the team at right-back, but it is still somewhat surprising that he’s only been seen once – as a replacement for the injured Ainsley Maitland-Niles in Arsenal’s opening defeat to Manchester City .

And while the Europa League usually offers opportunities for younger players, the 34-year-old will have long drawn a ring around this fixture as a chance for a potential start.

And one he’ll need to grasp.

2. Thompson’s time?

And speaking of young players, one of Arsenal’s brightest was seen being put through his paces by Unai Emery.

Left-back Dominic Thompson signed his first professional contract with the Gunners in June, and is named as part of the Gunners Europa league squad, with the squad number 56.

Thompson captained the under-18 side last season, and although it would be a huge surprise if he was given the nod by Emery for this game he did at least pick up some valuable experience.

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3. Aubameyang sees the funny side

Could Emery be tempted to give Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a start here?

The forward has only scored once this season, and so the arrival of the Ukrainians might be an opportunity for him to fill his boots ahead of the weekend’s visit of Everton in the Premier League.

He certainly saw the funny side of Wednesday’s session, anyway.

4. Elneny to come in from the cold?

It has been all change in Arsenal’s midfield department this season, with the additions of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira making competition for places more fierce than it has ever been before.

That seems to have left Mohamed Elneny behind, and after some talk that he could be allowed to leave in the summer, the Egyptian has still to play under Emery.

Injury has played a part in that, but could he be another that comes in from the cold to face the Ukrainians?

5. A freshened up Ramsey left to focus on Everton?

Emery said that he took Aaron Ramsey off against Newcastle because the midfielder had been playing "too much" for Wales during the international break, and so it would stand to reason that he would sit this one out.

The Spaniard might still spring a surprise of course, but it would stand to reason that he would be left out and allowed to focus on Everton at the weekend.

He certainly looked like a man with a day off on the horizon anyway.

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