Unai Emery delivers message to Denis Suarez over his first Arsenal start

Since completing his loan move from Barcelona in the final days of the transfer window, Denis Suarez has made two fleeting appearances for Arsenal off the bench.

The first came against former club Manchester City before Suarez was also introduced as a second half substitute during the 2-1 win at Huddersfield last weekend.

So it’s been a relatively slow start to life in north London for the 25-year-old, who will spend the rest of the season on loan at the Emirates hoping to seal a permanent move in the summer.

Suarez is part of the travelling 18-man squad that has flown to Belarus for Thursday night’s Europa League meeting with BATE Borisov and there has been a thought that he could be handed his first start for the Gunners by Emery.

But speaking ahead of the game, Arsenal’s head coach hinted that the attacking midfielder may again have to make do with a place on the bench and Emery also made it clear that Suarez has to earn a starting spot, rather than just be given one.

“His adaptation is good but he needs time,” said Emery. “He [Suarez] is OK to start but also he can be on the bench. For us it’s very important this adaptation and after, he can help us.

“He needs to earn, little by little, minutes and confidence and take rhythm with us.”

Suarez’s chances of starting against BATE have been boosted somewhat by Emery’s decision to leave Mesut Ozil at home.

The German playmaker returned to training on Tuesday following the bout of illness that saw him miss the win at Huddersfield, but Emery felt he wasn’t ready to be involved.

Aaron Ramsey (knee) and Sokratis have also been left at home, although the latter is now back in full training after his ankle injury.

Pierre-Emerick is back and is expected to start up front alongside Alexandre Lacazette.