Mkhitaryan participation in question for Azerbaijan trip

Sherman Parsons
September 17, 2018

The Armenia global could also miss the Europa League final - if Arsenal progress that far in the competition - because the final will be held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Arsenal's other opponents in Group E are Sporting Lisbon and Ukraine's Vorskla Poltava.

There has been a long-standing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, and in 2016 at least 200 people were killed in clashes between the two nations.

Those issues meant Mkhitaryan did not travel with Borussia Dortmund to a Europa League game against Gabala in October 2015, with the German club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke citing "safety concerns".

Confirmed clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Villarreal, Anderlecht, Lazio, Sporting CP, Marseille, and AC Milan will be involved in the draw.

Chelsea are back in the Europa League for the first time since they won the competition in 2013.

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Dembele sat out Thursday's Europa League win over Suduva following negotiations between Celtic and Lyon and he looks set to miss Rangers' visit.

Arsenal coach Unai Emery however has now responded to the situation positively suggesting his side will reach out to authorities for a visa approval for the player and hope for a positive outcome.

Cross-city rivals Rangers have the toughest-looking draw of the British quartet.

Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg came out of pot one, and they are joined by Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig, who are also associated with the energy drink manufacturer, and Norwegian title holders Rosenborg.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers are also facing a hard group stage, having been pitted against Villarreal, Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow in Group G.

The first round of group matches is on September 20.

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