Arsenal aiming for Mkhitaryan to feature in Europa League final
Political tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia has led to fears over Mkhitaryan’s safety in Baku.
Unai Emery said Arsenal will do everything possible to allow Henrikh Mkhitaryan to play a part in the Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku later this month.
The playmaker missed an earlier match in the Azerbaijani capital in the competition this season because of fears for his safety amid ongoing political tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia, whose national team he captains.
Speaking after Arsenal ended the Premier League season with a 3-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor, Emery said: “I don’t know really how is the solution but we want to play with every player, with Mkhitaryan.
“Today he worked very well and we are going to do all possible to play with him.”
Emery was speaking for the first time since it was revealed Arsenal and Chelsea supporters will only be given 6,000 tickets each for the match at the 68,000-capacity stadium.
Comparing the situation to his experiences with Sevilla, Emery said: “I played one final with Barcelona in the Super Cup in Georgia three years ago and it was the same, two teams from Spain travelling to Tbilisi. And the problem was for the supporters.
“I prefer to play closer to England. Three years ago we played in Switzerland against Liverpool and the stadium was full with our supporters and Liverpool supporters and it was amazing.
“It’s going to be only 6,000 supporters for us, for Chelsea, but the stadium has a capacity of 70,000. I think it’s going to be full but not with our supporters and Chelsea supporters.”
Arsenal went into the game at Turf Moor with a very outside chance of finishing fourth but Tottenham’s draw with Everton snuffed that out.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s two goals meant he shared the Premier League’s Golden Boot with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane while Ashley Barnes pulled one back before Eddie Nketiah’s very late third.
Emery ended the domestic season with mixed feelings, saying: “These three points give us 70 points. It’s not enough to be in the top four but I think we were progressing and we were being consistent.
“We can be not 100 per cent happy but the players, like today, worked all the season for progress and to be closer to the top four. We finished a very big distance with Liverpool and City but closer to Tottenham and Chelsea.”
Burnley’s main target of safety had already been achieved, with Sean Dyche’s side ending the campaign in 15th a year after celebrating seventh place and European qualification.
“We’ve had a lot going on this season,” said Dyche. “It’s been a big challenge and I think from where we were at Christmas to where we are now, it’s fantastic.
“We’ve all seen sides that have starts like that who disappear. Every season’s a tough season and this one definitely has been but it’s been strangely enjoyable.”
Dyche confirmed 33-year-old left-back Stephen Ward will be leaving the club at the end of his contract this summer after five years at Turf Moor.