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.
As usual Arsenal are faced with a tough away game after our European match, at Burnley this time, so you know that Wenger will be thinking about that in the build up to the game at Cologne, and you could forgive him for thinking that any side he selects should be good enough.
Our German opponents are having an absolutely horrendous season so far; rock bottom of the Bundesliga with just two points and also bottom of the Europa League group. They did, however, win the last European tie in some style, beating BATE Borisov 5-2, and that is why I fell we cannot relax.
If I was the Cologne boss I would be looking at this game as a free hit. Win and the confidence boost would be huge and losing would be no surprise. It makes sense for Cologne to go for it and also to play with freedom and while a loss or draw would not really affect the group it may hurt us at the same time it helps them.
In that light I would be taking this game seriously, but will Wenger and the Arsenal team do it?