The Europa League starts again tomorrow, and Arsenal are assured of winning their group. if Arsenal lose and Sporting win, Arsenal go through because the first tie break is head to head record, and since Arsenal have a win and a draw, they own that tie break. So, for the most part, this is a meaningless game with nothing at stake, and a chance to play some kids again so they can get some experience under their belts.
But it also turns out those belts getting experience will probably also include some more experienced players as well. Unai Emery gave his team news yesterday, and it contained the news that Laurent Koscielny will definitely play a part:
tomorrow we are going to use some different players with also players coming from the under-23 team and also it is in our planning to start with Laurent Koscielny.
Emery also mentioned that he will wait to decide what’s next for Kos until after tomorrow’s game - with four matches in 10 days, all healthy hands will be on deck, but he doesn’t want to rush Kos back and risk further injury:
We are going to decide after tomorrow’s match, as its the first match with us that Laurent Koscielny will play. We are going to look also if he can play 90 minutes or less minutes in this (Southampton) game.
There was also a welcome update about Mesut Özil:
Tomorrow he is in the group, there are 18 players in the squad for this match and I am going to decide if he plays tomorrow from the beginning or during the match in the 90 minutes.
There were still no details about his injury, but apparently his back is feeling better, which is good. December’s an insane month - beween now and January 5, there’s a game at minimum every four days - and, whether you like Özil as a player or not, he’s a warm body, and the more of those that Arsenal have ready to go right now, the better.