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Arsenal to warm up for Europa League final with LASK Linz friendly despite injury fears

5:28 PM IST 20/05/19
Unai Emery Arsenal
The Gunners will take on the Austrian side in a behind closed doors friendly at London Colney on Thursday ahead of their meeting with Chelsea in Baku

Arsenal will play Austrian top flight side LASK Linz on Thursday afternoon as part of their preparations for the Europa League final.

It has been more than a week now since the Gunners were last in action when they brought the curtain down on their domestic season with a 3-1 win at Burnley.

And with the Europa League final not due to take place until Wednesday, May 29, that will mean Arsenal would have had a 17-day gap between fixtures.

Boss Unai Emery was worried that was too long a period without a match, so the friendly with LASK Linz has been arranged to give his players what he views as much needed game time.

The friendly will take place at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground and will be staged behind-closed-doors as Emery starts to put his plans in place ahead of the crucial meeting with Chelsea.

LASK finished second behind Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and will be flown in by a jet chartered by Arsenal for the game.

All of Emery’s top stars are set to feature, despite the risk of injury ahead of the final - with the Spaniard seeing the fixture as a key part of his team’s preparations.

Chelsea took part in their own friendly following their final Premier League game of the season at Leicester, flying out to the United States to take on New England Revolution as part of the club’s Say No To Antisemitism campaign.

But the game came at a cost, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek rupturing his Achilles - ruling him out of action for around nine months.

Emery believes the need for some game time ahead of the final outweighs the risk of any of his key men picking up an injuries, however.

Arsenal trained as normal last week at London Colney before Emery gave all of his players an extended break over the weekend.

They are due back to the training ground on Tuesday, when preparations will step up ahead of the final.

Having played the game against LASK Linz on Thursday, Friday will be a recovery day before the squad departs on the long journey to Baku on Saturday.

The Gunners will then spend four days in Azerbaijan preparing for next Wednesday night’s final.

"We will go to Baku three or four days before the final and prepare for the match over the last three training sessions,” Emery stated after the final Premier League game of the season at Burnley.