Unai Emery insists Mesut Ozil was left out of the Arsenal squad which flew to Belarus on Wednesday because he has not sufficiently recovered from the illness which ruled him out Saturday’s win over Huddersfield.
The former Real Madrid playmaker missed Arsenal’s first away league win since November with a sickness bug, but took full part in Tuesday’s training session and was expected to be in contention to make his first team return.
Ozil has featured just twice since Boxing Day and will play no part in Arsenal Europa League clash against BATE Borisov tomorrow having been left behind in London by his manager.
‘We are here with the players who I think are OK to play,’ said Emery.
‘The players not in the squad is because Ramsey has not trained with us, Sokratis has started to train but not enough, Mesut is the same.
‘Aubameyang started Monday and I think he is OK for the match.’
January signing Denis Saurez has made two brief substitute appearances since his January move from Barcelona and is in line to make his full debut although Emery believes his compatriot still needs more time to adapt to his new surroundings.
He said: ‘I am thinking about the best performance for tomorrow. I think his adaptation is good, but he needs time.
‘He is OK to start, but he can also be on the bench. He needs to earn, little by little. To get minutes.’
Arsenal eased to a comfortable victory against BATE in last season’s competition but Emery believes tomorrow night’s opposition have improved markedly since then as evidenced by their recent performances against Chelsea.
He added: ‘Last year Arsenal won here 4-2. This year when they played in the groups, for example against Chelsea, they lost 1-0 but had chances to score and draw.
‘Now they are not in competition in the league, but they prepared in pre-season. It’s a very organised team. Their motivation I think is going to be very high. I respect them.’