Preview – Arsenal v FC Köln

Danny Welbeck, Arsenal; Football

The Europa League may seem a bit underwhelming to Arsenal, as they prepare to kick off their European campaign against Köln at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

Europa League

15 September 2017

Kick-off 03:05 HK time

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Head-to-head summary:

Arsenal 0 0 0 0
Köln 0 0 0 0

Players to watch:

After featuring against the Cherries, Alexis Sanchez may get a start on Thursday, and all eyes will be on him and his performance.

The team that takes to the field on Thursday may not be manager Arsene Wenger’s strongest XI, so it could be a chance for someone like Alex Iwobi to impress.

The player to watch for the Billy Goats could well be goalkeeper Timo Horn, as he may well be a busy lad. Still just 24, Horn has over 150 senior appearances to his name, and will have to use both his youthful agility and that experience to keep out the Gunners.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Gunners are back to winning ways after last weekend’s 3-0 success over Bournemouth, and look to have recovered from back-to-back defeats including a 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool.

Meanwhile, the Billy Goats have been struggling in the Bundesliga, losing all three of their opening matches, and find themselves bottom of the standings. Having most recently been beaten 3-0 by Augsburg, this is not a good time to face a reinvigorated Arsenal side who need another win to keep the pressure off.

“If we were to take something positive, it could help us in the Bundesliga,” Köln manager Peter Stöger told reporters. “Even though it’s no question who’s the favourite.”

Speaking ahead of the game, Arsene Wenger insisted that he will not be taking the competition lightly, saying they “are very focused on the Europa League – we want to go and win it”.

Team news:

Arsenal are without Francis Coquelin (hamstring), Calum Chambers (groin strain), and Santi Cazorla (plantaris injury).

For Köln, Latvian striker Artjoms Rudnevs is unavailable due to illness.