Cape Town - Arsenal
head into their chilly Europa League Round of 32 tie against Ostersunds
of Sweden on Thursday without the services of new signing
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang thanks to a ruling that Arsene Wenger has
Wenger has criticised UEFA after Aubameyang was ruled out of playing for Arsenal in the Europa League because of a technicality.
UEFA rules state that players are ineligible if they have appeared in
the same competition for another club or, as in Aubameyang's case, they
have played for another club that is currently in the same competition.
The Gabon striker cannot play because he featured for the German club
in the Champions League, before they dropped down to the Europa League,
meaning Arsenal could face Dortmund later this season.
The ruling means the Gunners are without either of their front-line
strikers as Alexandre Lacazette has also been ruled out through injury.
"Unanimously, I believe that all the clubs agree now this rule has to disappear in Europe," Wenger told a press conference.
"Especially because, for example, he played Dortmund, Dortmund has been reversed in the Europa League and he cannot play.
"When you look at the transfer amounts you spend now, that you have
to spend £50, 60, 70 million in the middle of the season, that the players
cannot play doesn't make sense.
"Unanimously everywhere in Europe now the clubs are against this rule."
Fellow transfer window signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan is available for
selection after moving from Manchester United as Jose Mourinho's side
are still in the Champions League.
Wenger said Danny Welbeck will lead the line.
"He looks sharper than he has in a long time, very sharp," said
Wenger. "[Central striker] is where I prefer him. It's an opportunity
for him to do well."
Meanwhile, Arsenal may have to deal with sub-zero temperatures in the away leg, something that Wenger said doesn’t bother him.
"The temperature, at the moment I don't find too much different from London," he said. "It shouldn't be a problem."