Arsenal aren’t optimistic that talks with UEFA over Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s participation in the Europa League final will bring a positive conclusion.
For anyone who hasn’t been following the story, due to ongoing political tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Arsenal fans of Armenian descent are set to miss out on the Europa League final in Baku later this month.
Obtaining a visa is a struggle, if not impossible for your average Armenian supporter, and even if you can get one there are substantial concerns over how safe it is to attend.
A report in The Guardian confirms Arsenal are still in talks with UEFA over the possibility that Mkhitaryan could still take part in the match, at least, but they aren’t optimistic.
Despite having the much more impressive semi-final, the Gunners appear to be the underdogs in the final against Chelsea, but they’ll certainly stand a better chance if and when it’s confirmed that Mkhitaryan will be with the squad in Baku.
The winger scored against the Blues back in August, and he’s appeared in every Europa League knockout game this season so far. Coming off the bench against Valencia in the semi-final, Mkhitaryan set up a goal for Aubameyang to complete his hat-trick. The idea that he won’t even be available to have a similar late impact in the final is ridiculous.
Let’s hope there’s a major turnaround from all involved in the coming weeks, but based on UEFA’s weak statement about their choice of location on Friday, it seems they just plan to dig their heels in and bury their heads in the sand.