Stayaway Arsenal fans will return for Europa League, says Wenger

The Gunners drew 2-2 with CSKA Moscow on Thursday to progress 6-3 on aggregate, but their manager was worried when they were 2-0 down

Arsene Wenger has been troubled by the frequent sight of a half-full Emirates Stadium but is optimistic of strong backing from Arsenal fans in their Europa League clash with CSKA Moscow.

Empty seats have marked recent Emirates Stadium matches as supporters demonstrate dissatisfaction with a campaign that appears likely to end without qualification for the Champions League for a second successive season.

Winning the Europa League is the Gunners' last realistic hope of returning to the competition next term and they can strengthen those chances with a strong showing in the first leg of the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Club great Ian Wright has commended Arsenal fans for the "positive step" of staying away from matches and Wenger accepts slumping attendances are a worrying trend, albeit one he believes will soon end.

"I'm always concerned when our stadium is not completely full," the Frenchman told reporters on Wednesday.

"But I don't think that will be a problem tomorrow. Our concern is the performance and the crowd will be behind us.

"I think when something is at stake the crowd is always behind us."

Arsenal have been boosted by the return to fitness of Alexandre Lacazette as they attempt to reach the final four of a European competition for the first time since 2008-09.

The France forward, who scored in the weekend win over Stoke City, is in contention to feature against CSKA, although Wenger was not prepared to reveal his starting XI.

"Basically we have everybody available, I think," he said.