OFFICIAL Arsenal XI for Cologne – Sanchez starts, Wilshere sub

It must have been a bit of a head scratcher for Arsene Wenger as he prepared for the first Europa League that Arsenal have had to face for 17 years, following the disappointing Premier League campaign of last season which saw us finish outside the top four by just a single point.

The boss has a balancing act to perform on these Thursday nights, with the need to build form and confidence against the need to give lesser used Gunners some time on the pitch and also give some key players a rest before playing in the Premier League less than three days later.

From the team news it looks to me as though the boss has gone for a stronger line up than he might have, with a front three of Alexis Sanchez, Walcott and Giroud and with Monreal and Bellerin keeping their places. Into that back three come Mertesacker and Holding, with Elneny and Iwobi in the centre and Maitland-Niles completing the 11.

Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal
Bellerin, Iwobi, Elneny, Maitland-Niles
Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez

Subs: Macey, Wilshere, Mustafi, Reine-Adelaide, Kolasinac, Akpom, Nelson

Hopefully the starting side will get the job done and we will also get to see young Nelson. Wilshere and Akpom given some game time for the Gunners.



  1. Declan says:

    Kick off delayed until 9pm due to congestion around ground outside.
    Estimated 20-25,000 Cologne fans with 3000 tickets.

    1. gotanidea says:

      So if the kickoff is supposed to start at 11 pm, then it will be moved to 12 pm?

      Based on the line-up, I think that formation is just a disguise. The real formation would be like below:

      Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal
      Bellerin, Iwobi, Elneny, Maitland-Niles
      Walcott, Giroud

  2. Gunners says:

    Where is Chambers and Nketiah?

  3. kabeer says:

    strong lineup

    I like it

    where is chambers?

  4. John0711 says:

    Nelson should start
    And where’s chambers ???

  5. Joel says:

    Someone please share a site to live stream the arsenal game.

    1. Krish says:

      ifirstrow 🙂

      1. Declan says:

        Kick off at 9 UK time

  6. Zim-Gunner says:

    Debuchy is nowhere to be found…I rate Nketiah better than Akpom!

  7. sniper says:

    why is Nelson on bench! we are short on defense you Want to play back three yet you are selling defenders no even a backup for bellerin and where the hell is chambers, some decisions make deference between a good manager and a specialist in failure, you freeze out a player like debouch and we’re already short defensively! coyg! though Thursday football here are

    1. sniper says:

      Thursday football here we go, weirdest

    2. Gunners says:

      People here never seize to amaze me. We are shot at right back, Bellerin is not on form and he is an injury away from crisis but he is risked and those 2 who can play that position freezed. We have 2 left backs but he is confusing that young man. Why is @Sniper getting thumbs down? This is worst management! I wont be surprised to see Nelson being played as a wing back and that is that end of his career!

  8. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Looks like a strong lineup
    With Alexis, Theo and Giroud we should have enough fire power to win. Theo needs to prove himself so he will be goal hungry

    BTW AC Milan, Dynamo Kiev and Atalanta look good this evening

  9. arsenal4life says:

    To be fair those of us commenting
    in recent days got this starting X1
    pretty much right.
    So collective congrats to us all 🙂
    We all picked Walcott Giroud and Sanchez to be the front three.
    We all picked Ospina Mertz Holding Monreal iwobi Elneny.
    Only a couple of places in contention.
    Chambers Wilshere Niles Nelson were mentioned
    As it is Niles starts while Wilshere and Nelson
    will play second half after Arsenal establish a big lead.
    4 English starters and 3 English subs
    7 English players finish in European victory.
    Too early to be talking the new English Core?
    My only disappointment is that my favorite Arsenal player
    2 mill per game Debuchy has missed the cut.
    No doubt he will be wheeled out next week against Ploncaster Nohopers.
    Please no red cards no penalties.
    No crowd trouble.
    Best team to win

  10. Grandad says:

    Mainland-Niles, a right footed midfield player at left wing back? Does Wenger never learn?

    1. shark says:

      I think Iwobi will play on the left.

      1. Gunners says:

        Iwobi playing LWB?

    2. arsenal4life says:

      Phillip Lahm did ok as a right
      footed left back while Azpilicueta
      has won a string of trophies
      at the Chavs playing LB despite being predominantly right footed.
      Neymar Mbappe and Ronaldo are right footers
      who play on the left and they are fairly decent players.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Azpilicueta is a talented fullback that has played in the left side for several years. Neymar, Messi, Sanchez, Mbappe and Ronaldo are inverted wingers that are supposed to cut inside and shoot with their dominant foots.

      2. Gunners says:

        This is a young man trying to learn his trade, playing 1st team is already to much for him, what more playing out of position? That is the very reason why AOC refused to sign a contract! I dont believe in hiring an Accountant to be an IT Specialist!

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