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Preview: Arsenal v Cologne, key men left out, Nelson starts + predicted score

By on September 14, 2017

Arsenal kick off our Europa League group stage campaign when we entertain Cologne at the Emirates this evening.

This is the first time we’ll be playing a Europa League game in 17 years after failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 1997.

Understandably, Arsene Wenger hasn’t made the Europa League a priority this season and he’s expected to treat it like a domestic cup competition during the group stages.

With a huge Premier League trip to Chelsea coming up on Sunday lunchtime, it’s no surprise that the boss is going to heavily rotate his team tonight but we should still have a strong enough squad to see-off Cologne.

The German outfit finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season but have started the new campaign poor having lost all three of their games so far so this could be a good time to play them.

Team News

As previously stated, Wenger is set to ring the changes and Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka are all set to be rested after not taking part in training yesterday.

Alexis Sanchez did train and is expected to be involved while the likes of David Ospina, Per Mertesacker, Rob Holding, Mo Elneny, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Olivier Giroud are also pushing for starts.

Youngster Reiss Nelson is being tipped to make his competitive debut for the first team after impressing for the U23s but Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Preferred line-up

I’d love to see Nelson given a chance to impress in the right wing-back role while it will be amazing to see Jack back in an Arsenal shirt again for the first time in over a year.

Many are saying Sanchez will start but I think that would be a mistake ahead of the Chelsea game so I’d go with Walcott and Iwobi behind Giroud in attack.

Prediction

Despite making wholesale changes to the starting eleven that beat Bournemouth last time out, we’re still able to field a quality side packed with international’s so we should have more than enough to beat Cologne on home soil. I’m going with a 3-0 win. Arsenal 3-0 Cologne

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