Not every single thing about the Europa League match between Arsenal and FC Cologne on Thursday night was positive from the Gunners’ point of view. Far from it, in fact. The first half was pretty pedestrian and when David Ospina’s mistake qwas punished to the full with the German club taking the lead it all felt like a bit of a disaster.
However, when the final whistle was blown, which felt like some time in the early hours of the morning, we could look back on an excellent comeback and a great result which puts Arsenal in pole position to win our group and progress in Europe. There were a number of very positive aspects for Arsenal from the game as well, and here are the big five in my opinion:
1. Alexis Sanchez finding his form in something like a nano-second. The Chilean striker was doing a pretty good imitation of a person who has never played football before in the first half, but after the break and once Sead Kolasinac showed him the way with his superbly smashed volley to equalise, Alexis turned back into the all conquering superstar we know he can be. Just in time for the Chelsea match.
2. As mentioned above, the free transfer from Schalke this summer is fast becoming a firm Arsenal fan favourite, and not just because of that brilliant 49th minute strike against Cologne. His whole game, attitude and approach are a breath of fresh air.
3. Jack Wilshere. The 25-year old midfielder brought back memories of why he was being touted as the future of Arsenal and England a few years ago. Keep it up Jack, please keep it up and stay fit.
4. Mohamed Elneny. If that performance from the Egypt international does not have Arsene Wenger thinking about using him more often in the Premier League then I do not know what will. Energy, drive, awareness, responsibility and some excellent precision and technical ability on the ball.
5. A combination of the right result and useful game time for fringe players suggests that Arsenal may not be too sorry to have dropped into the Europa League after all.