So we kick off our first ever Europa League campaign tonight, although Arsenal won a previous reincarnation when it was called the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. A home game against Cologne should be an easy start for the Gunners, considering that our opponents have lost all three of their opening games in the Bundesliga this season, but like Arsenal they finished 5th last season which is why we are meeting them tonight.
But we are better than that, as we showed in our destruction of Bournemouth this week, but a lot will depend on what sort of team both sides put out. As it is Koln’s first European tie for 25 years I’m expecting them to at least try, whereas Wenger is guaranteed to make big changes with Sunday’s game against Chelsea in mind. It is being reported that Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are definitely out after Wenger said today: “On the injury front we have no big problems, a few players have had some response to playing two international games like Ozil and Ramsey, so they are rested completely. But overall the injury situation is not too bad.” Alexandre Lacazette, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Danny Welbeck and Granit Xhaka, are also expected to be left out of the squad. Coquelin is injured, so I am going for a new look midfield in Elneny and Jack Wilshere.
This will make predicting the starting line-up very difficult indeed, but I am going to have a brave attempt!
Chambers, Mertesacker, Holding
Bellerin, Elneny, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles
How does that look to you? But I admit it is a guess as we all know Wenger will not be taking this competition overly seriously unless we are completely out of the Top Four race…..
So the result? I’m hoping our team can gel and the Germans are overawed, so I’m going for 2-0 to the Arsenal
Onwards and Upwards!