Arsenal kick off our Europa League group campaign when we entertain FC Koln at the Emirates on Thursday night.
Our first appearance in the Europe League under Arsene Wenger is against FC Koln and for the first time in 21 years we will not be hearing the famous Champions League anthem on European nights.
The Gunners take on FC Koln of Germany’s Bundesliga tonight who are presently the bottom placed team in the league, with games against Crvena Zvezda and BATE Borisov to follow in coming weeks in Group H.
Arsene Wenger has previously hinted at a number of changes to the starting lineup in a bid to provide fatigued International player a breather and youngsters a platform in the Europa League.
Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette have all been rested for the fixture in addition with Cazorla and Coquelin already out injured.
Opposition Check :
Check out their Statistic this season in the Bundesliga so far here |
Cologne's last five games in all competitions:
Goals scored: 13
Goals conceded: 9 pic.twitter.com/tqibPz76Se
— Fresh Arsenal (@Fresh_Arsenal) September 14, 2017
Here is our predicted lineup for our Europa League fixture against FC Koln tonight :
Goalkeeper : David Ospina
Ospina is the club’s cup goalkeeper and that should continue. He’s been waiting in the wings for a while and after committing his future to the club this summer he will start in his first appearance this season.
Defence : Rob Holding , Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi
With Koscielny out suspended and a match against Chelsea in the weekend our back three should consist of Per in CB with Holding and Mustafi on either side.
Holding did not play on saturday and this should be the perfect fixture for him to try and regain that confidence.
Mertesacker has proven he has the ability to compete in a back three and should form a solid defensive trio with his compatriot Mustafi on his side laying out the passes from the back.
Wing Backs : Saed Kolasinac and Ress Nelson
it’s time Reiss Nelson got some minutes on the pitch and where better than in Europe. A perfect platform for him to confirm our belief in his talents and skills by nutmeging a couple of Germans.
Aside from starting our new signing we dont have too many options in Left wing back role and seems quite a fit there. My only inhibition being getting him too tired on a thurday before a trip to Stamford bridge on sunday. Best he comes off at 60 minutes.
Central Midfield : Jack Wilshere and Mohammed Elneny
Thats a pretty good looking secondary midfield to have provided Jack knows what hes supposed to be doing there and does not end up breaking his ankles again. After really working hard the last few weeks in training lets hope this is a memorable night for him for all the good reasons
Elneny needs some game time and this is where he needs to do a proper job in order to push Xhaka and Ramsey for a midfield berth in the starting lineup in the league.
Attacking Forwards : Walcott, Giroud and Alex Iwobi
Giroud is starting at Centre forward with Walcott and Iwobi behind him as the two attacking midfielders.
For Walcott this is his real chance at proving how efficiently and effectively he fits in this system. He needs to pull of a real blinder because a lot of our attacking responsibilities will be on him.
Sanchez did train and a lot of people will be clamoring to see start but lets be honest he is our best player on the pitch and really needs to take the field at Stamford Bridge along with Ozil and Lacazette.
The cruciality of our win there cannot be expressed enough and for that we need him there and not starting here against the Bundesliga’s bottom placed team.
In his absence Iwobi is capable enough of filling the void and a genuine performance in this competition will show the manager his capability in filling Ozils boots in the future.