Tonight we’re back in action in the Europa League with our seemingly annual trip to Germany. Thankfully though this time we’re headed to face Cologne and not Bayern Munich.
Looking to our fifth group game of the season, we have already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition but we still have a job to do. Finish top of the group.
With three wins from four games so far and a point away from securing top spot, that’s looking increasingly possible for Arsenal. Especially considering Cologne sit bottom of the group with just one win so far.
However, with that in mind we still shouldn’t be going into the game thinking it’s won already. As we found out on matchday one the Cologne fans do add that bit extra to the team’s performance and now that we’re heading to their place they can only do better.
We also have to remember that it was Cologne who struck first at The Emirates. The goal itself might’ve come from a silly error but at that point in the game it was fair for them to go ahead.
Now with three games behind them though, the ‘Europa League squad’ should be somewhat adjusted to the action by now and be able to navigate through the noise and come out with a win like they did away to Red Star Belgrade.
That Europa League side includes the likes of Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah. Just a few of a very exciting young bunch of players who, now we’ve actually qualified, would hopefully get more minutes on the pitch as a result.
Also, with the Europa League matchday experience already in the bag for some of these youngsters, hopefully this trip to Cologne goes better than Per Merstesacker’s who said:
“I’m looking forward to it because I played my first league game away at Cologne. I was subbed at half time because it was so heated and intense. The whole atmosphere is heated and passionate.”
Among those familiar faces, Arsene Wenger also confirmed that Danny Welbeck, who has put in very notable performances when fit this season, has a possibility of starting tonight which could help us to stretch the Cologne defence when needed.
Hopefully all goes to plan tonight, but like in the first meeting between Arsenal and Cologne, I’d expect a few scares from the German side especially as they return to their home.