Arsenal will warm up for next Wednesday’s Europa League final clash against Chelsea by playing a closed-doors friendly against Austrian side LASK Linz this Thursday.
The fixture, due to be played at the club’s London Colney training ground, will be Arsenal’s first since the end of the Premier League season last Sunday, and helps the team avoid a 17-day gap between then and the May 29 final, said to have been a concern for manager Unai Emery.
LASK finished runners up in the Austrian Bundesliga, 12 points behind champions Red Bull Salzburg.
Chelsea also played a friendly ahead of the final, facing American side New England Revolution last Wednesday in the United States. But that game resulted in the injury of key midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon that will keep him out for nine months.
However, Arsenal’s fixture against LASK will feature the team’s top players, despite the risk of similar injuries which could deplete the squad ahead of the final in Baku.
Having finished fifth in the league, Emery’s side enter the game against Chelsea with added incentive, as winning the trophy will come with the additional prize of qualifying for the Champions League – which Chelsea have already sealed by finishing third.