Arsenal’s second team is preparing to face Cologne in Germany tonight hoping to secure top place in our qualifying group, and it is fair to say that if our reserves play with the same heart that the First XI did on Saturday then they will win this match very easily indeed.
For a good few years, I think it is safe to say, one of the things that Arsenal fans have been crying out for more than any other, at least in terms of playing personnel, is more fire power up front. I suppose you could say that the jury is still out in some respects on Alexandre Lacazette, as he has not been at the club long enough to cement his place in our hearts, but it is hard to argue that the Gunners have not made strides in this part of the team.
It was just a few years ago that the question of whether Arsenal would secure the transfer of the French striker Karim Benzema from the Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid was more about whether the deal was even a possibility and whether the Spanish club and the player would be willing.
There is more than just a small minority of Arsenal fans who think that the Germany international Mesut Ozil is nothing more than a luxury that the Gunners cannot really afford to have, apart from when he blows away the doubters with a match winning performance like we saw against Tottenham last weekend.
Arsene Wenger may have said a few things about taking the Europa League games seriously, but do any of us really believe him? The team selections of the Frenchman for these Thursday games so far would beg to differ, although perhaps the fact that the Gunners have already qualified for the next round makes the decision to rest all the usual big name first team players justified.
It is no secret that Arsenal have had a close connection with France in recent years. Our manager of now more than 20 years is French for a start, and Arsene Wenger has brought a long and distinguished list of his fellow countrymen to north London.
Nacho Monreal has poured water on reports linking his Arsenal team-mates Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez with a move away come January.
The duo are both into the final season of their contracts at present, and there is huge speculation around regarding their futures, with the pair in line to join at least four different clubs each depending which source you choose to believe in.
It seems like Arsenal have been linked with Julian Draxler for ever so it is difficult to think that the German international is still only 24 years old, but he was still a teenager at Schalke when he first came to Arsene Wenger’s attention.