Cape Town - Granit Xhaka and Sokratis have expressed their disappointment at the news that Arsenal team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not feature in the Europa League final, and have vowed to win it in his honour.
Forward Mkhitaryan chose not to travel to Baku for Wednesday's clash with Chelsea, fearing for his safety due to his native Armenia's long-standing conflicts with Azerbaijan.
Although the Azerbaijan FA insisted it would be safe for Mkhitaryan in Baku, the 30-year-old Gunners star has taken no chances.
Sokratis and Granit Xhaka have confirmed Arsenal will take extra motivation into Thursday's final to respect their missing team-mate.
"We've had five or six years together, I know him very well, we are good friends," said Sokratis, explaining a social media post in support of Mkhitaryan.
"So I just wrote what I feel. But we have also to play for him and for the players who are injured, and tomorrow if we win this game, it's also for them."
Arsenal will qualify for next term's Champions League with victory, and Xhaka is adamant the Gunners belong at Europe's top table.
The Switzerland midfielder said Arsenal have been hit by Mkhitaryan's absence but pledged the club will do all it can to scoop the silverware in his honour.
"Of course we are disappointed he's not here but I think we spoke a lot about Mkhitaryan and a lot of political things, and it's time to speak about football," said Xhaka.
"He's very important for us, and we want to give him a trophy tomorrow.
"We've been twice in a row in the Europa League, and a club like Arsenal has to be in the Champions League.
"It's an amazing and important game for us because we want to give the club and the fans the Champions League back."