Arsenal confirm Mkhitaryan will miss Europa League final

Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not play in the Europa League final against Chelsea on 29 May.

It is understood the Armenian, 30, feared for his safety on the pitch in Baku in Azerbaijan.

As a result of political tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Mkhitaryan has missed club matches played in Azerbaijan in the past.

In a statement, the Gunners said: ‘We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea.

‘We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party.

‘We have written to Uefa expressing our deep concerns about this situation. Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.

‘We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.

‘Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend.’

Mkhitaryan has played a key role in Arsenal’s campaign to date, featuring in 11 of their 14 Europa League matches.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said: ‘He wants to play with the team, but he spoke with his family and decided not to go.

‘It’s a very, very personal decision and we need to respect him. I don’t understand the political problems but I must respect his decision.’

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