Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal did not travel to Bulgaria for the Champions League fixture against Ludogorets due to injury. The 31-year-old midfielder has been troubled by an Achilles problem in recent weeks, while the 30-year-old full-back is suffering with an ongoing muscular issue.
The Spanish duo have remained in London along with the rested Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin, meaning Carl Jenkinson could be handed a rare start for the Gunners at the Ludogorets Arena.
“Nacho, Hector, Santi and Theo haven’t travelled. Some are close to returning,” the Arsenal manager said during a pre-match press conference, according to The Mirror.
Arsenal know that victory on Tuesday (1 November) all but guarantee their place in the round-of-16 stage, but Wenger has warned his players to take nothing for granted.
The Gunners defeated the Bulgarians by an emphatic 6-0 margin in London earlier this month. However, the Frenchman has noted that Ludogorets should not be underestimated as an attacking force.
“We must keep a good balance between vigilance and confidence,” the Arsenal manager explained. “That is what is at stake. We are both attacking sides so this should be an interesting match.”
Arsenal currently sit joint-top of Champions League Group A with seven points, and Wenger is pleased they are not relying on other teams to help seal their place in the next stage of the competition. But the manager has urged his players to remain focused on the task at hand. “Our destiny lies in the minds of the players, how strong their focus is and how hungry they are. That starts tomorrow,” the Arsenal boss shared.