This morning, Arsenal’s medical team confirmed that both Sokratis and Mesut Ozil had returned to full fitness after recovering from an ankle problem and illness respectively, however, neither player has been included in the squad to face BATE Borisov on Thursday.
Why? Apparently, neither man has been in training long enough to warrant inclusion on the long trip to Minsk and back.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 13, 2019
Asked about the absence of both players and Aaron Ramsey, who has a minor knee problem, Emery told his pre-game press conference:
“The players we didn’t bring in the squad were because Aaron Ramsey did not train with us and Sokratis only started training yesterday and today – I don’t think it’s enough.
“Mesut is the same,” he added. “Aubameyang, after he was sick, trained on Monday, yesterday and today, and I think he’s OK for the match.”
The temperature in Minsk is apparently hovering around freezing, which for this Arsenal team, who braved ridiculously cold conditions in Ukraine when they faced Vorskla, should not be a problem. Asked about the conditions, the boss said, “We played against Vorskla in Kiev when it was below zero snowing.
“It’s not an excuse for us, the weather or the pitch. We play 90 minutes that are the same for them and for us.”