Arsenal vs Cologne: Seven senior players to miss Gunners' Europa League clash

Posted September 14, 2017

Arsenal will rest at least seven key first-team players as Arsene Wenger prepares to follow through on his promise that the Europa League would take a backseat.

If left out of the squad entirely for Thursday's Europa League clash with Cologne, Wilshere's Arsenal career could be in serious jeopardy.

They have not played in this competition since losing the 2000 UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray but it could be seen as a route back to the Champions League.

"On the injury front we have no big problems, a few players have some response to the fact they played two worldwide games like Ozil and Ramsey, who are rested completely".

"It's always nice to have good players alongside you". Taking a more pragmatic view, though, Europe's secondary continental club competition could represent their best route back into its primary one.

Police inside the stadium keep an eye on Cologne supporters in the stands as the kick off is delayed due to crowd safety issues ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group H football match between Arsenal and FC Cologne at The Emirates Stadium in London on Sept

Reiss Nelson of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Meadow Park on August 25, 2017 in Borehamwood, England.

The competition could, possibly, also provide the Gunners with an alternative route into next season's Champions League, an opportunity that Manchester United took up with aplomb last term. Although he has only been chosen to be an impact player from the bench so far this season, Thursday's match may offer him the chance to make his first start of the campaign. Arsenal my have had a battle-hardened core of English veterans, but Wenger nearly immediately brought with him a change of focus toward continental players and methods that saw careers extended and trophies lifted. Truth be told, few Arsenal supporters genuinely looked forward to watching the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski play at the Emirates on big European nights; it usually only results in pain and humiliation.

Alexis Sanchez is expected to play some part, as is midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Many fans have pointed out that the last two Premier League champions - Chelsea and Leicester - did not have the distraction of European football as they waltzed to their domestic trophy triumphs.

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