Arsenal take on AC Milan in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 in Italy and the Gunners will be missing three key first-team players.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin will be absent for Thursday’s fixture in Italy.

Right-back Hector Bellerin has an inflammation on his left knee which prevented him from taking part in the training sessions. The extent of the injury is not known yet and such will only be revealed after further examination.

Wenger said of Bellerin: “He is injured, left knee.

“He had a scan which showed inflammation, it needs further investigation to know why he is in pain.

“He could not absorb the training session, so we had to leave him behind.”

Summer signing Alexandre Lacazette is also sidelined with a knee injury while defender Nacho Monreal has failed to recover from a back problem.

“Lacazette is not ready,” Wenger added.

“We had to leave Monreal behind as well. He started a little session but he’s not ready.”

The Gunners are 13 points adrift of the top four and winning the Europa League is now their only chance of getting back in the Champions League. But the absence of these players will certainly be a blow for Arsene Wenger.

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