Cologne game to determine Arsenal approach to Europa League?

Most Arsenal fans are really not sure how Arsene Wenger is going to approach the Europa League group games that Arsenal have to cope with after finishing just outside the top four of the Premier League last season and not being in the Champions League for the first time in a very long time.

One of the reasons for our confusion, in my opinion, is that the manager himself is not really sure how to approach it either. He declared quite emphatically before the start of the season that he would be focusing on the Premier League, thereby getting us ready for a much weakened Arsenal team being picked for the European games.

But he has been saying different things as well, suggesting at the weekend that he would be selecting a strong side with not too many changes for the visit of the Bundesliga club Cologne this week and that tells me that Wenger is in two minds.

I think that the game this week could actually determine how we approach the other five. Wenger will look at how much it takes out of his players, how likely we are to get out of the group and how seriously we need to take it to do so and a number of other factors.

Simply by playing a strong side this week, which he can probably do without any worries this early in the season, could put Arsenal in a strong position that will allow him to be more carefree with team selection in the later clashes.

What do you guys think should be our approach to the Europa League?



  1. gotanidea says:

    Arsenal should be able to defeat Koln with the fringe players, if they set a focal point in their system for that match. A player that the others can depend on, in attacking and distributing the ball.

    In Celtic vs PSG match, Neymar became PSG’s focal point in attack again. He was everywhere, dictated the tempo from the front area, controlled the ball flow, attracted Celtic’s defenders with his dribbles and created key passes for the other forwards, like what Messi did in Barcelona.

    If Arsenal want to improve their football level, Arsenal should have someone like them, a focal point or a skillful playmaker with similar abilities. Someone that can set an example for his teammates and for the youngsters to learn from.

    In Arsenal, only Sanchez has similar skills, movements and habits in the field like what they have. He could be Arsenal’s focal point in this season, if he could focus on the team and give his 100% for his teammates.

  2. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Fact 1: Arsenal are the highest ranked team in this whole competition. I think this is a first for Arsenal lol.
    Fact 2: The winner gets to go automatically Champions League regardless of how we finish in the PL

    Reality 1: the odds of us finishing in Top 4 PL are not High. We need to finish higher than 2 of these teams United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Spurs
    Reality 2: Winning Europa will be tough as hell but as we are the top ranked team our chances are better than finishing Top 4 in premier league.
    Reality 3: We won’t win by playing too many fringe players. It’s too risky. We need to play strong enough teams to win.

    We should take Europa seriously. Play Koscielny, Mustafi, Alexis, Ozil Lacazette or Giroud. Maybe add a few younger like Nelson, Holding or less played players like Wilshere, Iwobi, Eleny. But we MUST play strong enough teams to win

    We can do it. A lot of tough teams ie AC Milan, Lyon, Zenit St Petersburg, Villarreal, Everton etc. But I believe we can achieve what Manchester United (who finished 6th place, behind us) did. They are in CL

    Again, winning Europa means a Trophy AND playing Champions League next season. Let’s take it seriously

    1. Jibs says:

      I don’t think play the boss in these early stages is a good idea. He’s been nursing an injury in what feels like forever. I know optimism for a top four finish is at an all-time low, but I want us to compete in the league. We have to showcase to prospective players that we aren’t a spent force in the league. If we win Europa league and finish 7th, I’d still consider that a bad season.

  3. ThirdManJW says:

    One would think Wenger would take it seriously, because he’s never won a European trophy, and Arsenal’s record throughout their history in Europe is poor. I cannot see us qualifying for the CL via the league, so winning the EL is our only realistic chance of getting back into it. And let’s be brutally honest, CL qualification is Wenger’s main target this season.

    That being said, I think he’ll pick a weakened team Thursday night, given we’re at home, our opponent is very poor, and we have a massive game at the weekend. I want to see Nelson play, but I also don’t want Wenger to get his hands on him, and instil is weak minded mentality into Nelson, because I am not sure there’s a cure for Wengeritus.

    1. waal2waal says:

      If man united had the focus, determine and character to take the competition seriously its difficult to see any reason why we would not take the competition seriously. the challenge is to take a fight into europe while mounting a powerful campaign in our own domestic league. if we are incapable of this fete then what business we got in the real CL.

      this is going to be mertesacker’s swan song season and its an opportunity to make history, already we have 4x lethal strikers and an extremely gifted complement of young guns not to mention a ‘tank’. we’ll need team cohesion for our ventures into europa, greater positivity the kind that sees player pettiness put aside so we come away from this campaign with the kudos we deserve.

  4. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I would start something like this for Koln:

    Holding, Chambers, Mertsacker
    Nelson, Wilshere, Eleny, Maitland-Niles
    Walcott, Iwobi

    Bench: Some of our best players in case we need them ie Lacazette, Kolsanic, Cech, etc

    This lineup will give rest to Cech, Kolsanic, Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Ozil, Lacazette, Alexis for Chelsea match but still be strong enough to win at home

  5. Dave says:

    Not interested one bit!!!!!

    1. GB says:

      Don’t comment then!!!!!!

  6. arsenal4life says:

    The Yuropa league is a time
    to rest key players for our
    4th place League campaign.
    Koln is 0 and 3 and sit rock
    bottom of the Bundesliga.
    Who ever we start will cruise to a comfy win.
    Of the top dozen players only Sanchez might play
    as he needs game time ahead of Chelsea.
    Play those stealing a living at Arsenal like Debuchy and Wilshere
    and pack the bench with 6 token youth players
    and Takuma the Japanese Messi

    Holding Mertesacker Monreal
    Niles Chambers Elneny
    Walcott Wilshere Iwobi
    Macey Bielik Mcguane Zelalem Willock Nelson Asano

  7. Sue says:

    I hope they go for it… can’t handle another thrashing! COYG

  8. Chuks says:

    Wenger suddenly changed his mind bcos he has realized d League is out of his reach.
    he might now take d EL serious bcos is another route to CL.
    Wenger out#

  9. Sue says:

    Podolski will be watching! I love him!!

    1. arsenal4life says:

      Perez is the new Podolski.
      Exactly the same panic buy.
      16 mill transfer fee 100k p/w.
      Now on loan in Spain.
      Achieving as much for Arsenal
      as Podolski in retirement mode in the the mighty J League.
      Makes perfect sense.
      That’s why we are doing the Thursday night shuffle 🙂
      Arsene knows best.

      1. Sue says:

        Podolski has a hell of a left foot though

  10. Sue says:

    This Europa league is gonna cause havoc with my darts… but I’ll be watching & I hope they win. Just not that keen on Maitland Niles

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