Qarabag vs Arsenal
Arsenal are back in Europa League action on Thursday night.
The Gunners started their Europa League adventure with a 4-2 home win over Vorskla on matchday one.
This week Arsenal have travelled to Azerbaijan to take on local powerhouse Qarabag.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is out for the Gunners
Henrikh Mkhitaryan played 90 minutes in that match against Vorskla.
However Mkhitaryan will play no part against Qarabag.
Mkhitaryan isn’t injured, however he’s not travelled with the Gunners squad to Azerbaijan for political reasons.
Azerbaijan are in long-standing political feud with Armenia. As reported by Sky Sports, “Armenian citizens are currently banned from travelling to Azerbaijan, although special exceptions have been made in the past for professional athletes.”
Mkhitaryan is the Armenian national team captain.
He’s decided to skip the Qarabag match in order to avoid stoking tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Social media reaction
I'm told Henrikh Mkhitaryan won't be making the trip to Azerbaijan for Thursday's game. Player's own decision based on the security situation amid the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Could be an issue for the final in Baku as well if Arsenal make it that far.
— Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) October 1, 2018
Henrikh Mkhitaryan won't be travelling to Baku this week, a decision made by the player but with full support of Arsenal.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) October 1, 2018
The Armenian Arsenal player Henryk Mkhitaryan is not travelling to Azerbaijan for the game there because of hostility between the 2 countries.
Parallel to Israeli players being left behind when their clubs go to train in Dubai or other places where Israelis are not welcome?
— David Hirsh (@DavidHirsh) October 3, 2018