UEFA Europa League Match Preview : Arsenal vs FC Koln

Arsenal enter relatively unfamiliar terrain on Thursday when they get their Europa League campaign under way against Koln.

Arsenal have been contenders in the Champions League for the last 18 seasons but after a poor campaign in the Premier League last time around, they have returned to European football’s second tier competition this time around.

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Perhaps they will have more chance of winning this competition however, as the Gunners only made it to the Round of 16 in the UCL in the last eight consecutive seasons.

Match Details:

Venue : Emirates Stadium
Date : Thursday, September 14 in UK, Friday, September 15 in India.
Time : 20:05 BST / 15:05 ET / 12:15 AM IST.
T.V : BT Sport 2 (UK), FS1 (U.S.), Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten HD 2 (IND).
Live Stream : Jio TV, Hotstar, BT Sport app, Fox Sports GO / Match Pass / WatchESPN.

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Team News:

Arsenal: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly set to hand Jack Wilshere a start on Thursday for the Englishman’s first Gunners appearance in 13 months. They will be without Francis Coquelin, who is carrying a hamstring injury, while Santi Cazorla has not been included in the Europa League squad and is months away from a return to match action anyway.Petr Cech, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka did not train with the matchday squad despite all being match fit. Meanwhile, centre-back Laurent Koscielny will miss out as he is serving a one-game suspension, per UEFA.

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FC Koln: Koln head coach Peter Stoger confirmed that striker Artjoms Rudnevs would not be available for the game against Arsenal, but other than that they have a clean bill of health.Marcel Risse and Milos Jojic have returned to training so will come into consideration for the trip to north London.

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“It is a good opportunity to show we can cope, We have played on a Wednesday night in Barcelona and against Everton on a Saturday morning. When you play Wednesday-Saturday it is similar to Thursday-Sunday. It is a preconceived idea, football is down to how you perform on the day. Three days is plenty of time to recover. This [Europa League] is not our best chance of a return [to the Champions League]. It is one of the opportunities. I think the best way to do it is through the Premier League but we want to win every competition we play.” Wenger said.

Opta Stats:

Arsenal have lost two and won two in the Premier League so far this term.

FC Koln have begun the Bundesliga campaign with three defeats so far.

The Gunners haven’t played in this competition since the 1999/2000 season.

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Predicted Line-Up:

FC Koln: T.Horn; Hector, Heintz, Mere, Klunter; Jojic, Risse, Lehmann, Bittencourt; Cordoba, Osako.
Arsenal: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Mustafi, Walcott, Wilshere, Elneny, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Sanchez, Giroud