Arsenal’s Ramsey seeks Europa League reward

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Premier League match against Watford (pic Jonathan

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Premier League match against Watford (pic Jonathan Brady/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Aaron Ramsey admitted the Europa League is now Arsenal’s best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, putting extra emphasis on their last-16 second-leg tie with AC Milan tonight (Thursday).

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (pic Adam Davy/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Recent results in the Premier League have left Arsenal 12 points adrift of the top four, but there is hope in the Europa League, as they lead the tie against Milan 2-0 from the first leg.

“It is a massive opportunity for us so it’s something we’ve got to be prepared to give everything for to try to achieve this,” said Ramsey.

“This game is very important for us and our season.”

Arsenal won with goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan – his first for the club – and Welsh midfielder Ramsey in an impressive performance in Italy last week, but Ramsey said that would not matter in the second leg.

“We saw how good they are,” he said. “We can’t take our foot off the gas. It’s important we treat it as 0-0 and go out there for the win.”

Manager Arsene Wenger said he had a full squad of players to choose from with the exception of Alexandre Lacazette, who remains out with a knee problem.

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The manager was also asked about Jack Wilshere, who is reportedly ready to leave the club in the summer as contract negotiations have come to a standstill.

“On my side nothing has changed,” Wenger said.

“Jack will be free at the end of the season. We have made a proposal to him and I want him to stay and be linked with the club for the future. I hope he will do it.”

Arsenal have Shkodran Mustafi available for the return meeting with the Italians, after the Germany defender limped out of Sunday’s win over Watford with a groin problem.

Hector Bellerin (knee) and Nacho Monreal (back) are also in contention for recalls, but Lacazette (knee) and long-term absentee Santi Cazorla (Achilles) remain sidelined.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible in Europe, Danny Welbeck is again likely to lead the line for the Gunners, with David Ospina expected to continue in goal in this competition.

Provisional squad: Ospina, Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Nelson, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Elneny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Nketiah.