Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger affirmed he will not be resting any of his star players during a Europa League tilt with Swedish outfit Ostersund, committing the full strength of his ranks to Thursday's encounter in an effort to make clear his dedication to winning the competition.
The Gunners sit sixth in the Premier League table, a daunting 27 points behind leader Manchester City, and have already been eliminated from the FA Cup. As a result, Wenger believes the Europa League is Arsenal's best chance of earning meaningful silverware this season.
His team is still in the early stages of the knockout rounds, but Wenger vowed not to take the competition lightly, regardless of the flexibility his schedule now affords him.
"I would have anyway gone for it, especially as we have no game between the two matches," Wenger said, as quoted by ESPN FC's Mattias Karen.
"I will play the normal team because it is one of the opportunities we have especially because we don't play in the FA Cup. There is no reason why I should rest players."
Having finished atop Group H, Arsenal kicks off its round of 32 matchup by travelling to the 9,154-seat Jamtkraft Arena in Ostersund, a city in central Sweden. The host team is enjoying its first foray through the Europa League, having earned promotion into the Allsvenskan in 2016 and finishing fifth last year to book a berth to the continental competition.
Arsenal then hosts Ostersund on Feb. 22 at the Emirates Stadium for the second leg of the home-and-away tie, before turning its attention to Manchester City in both the League Cup final and a Premier League fixture.
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