Arsenal are set for their first European involvement outside of the Champions League for the first time since 2000 this week, as the Gunners welcome German outfit FC Koln to the Emirates Stadium.
After failing to finish in the top-four in the Premier League last season, Arsenal are determined to bounce back this season and stand as one of the favourites to go all the way in Europe’s second-tier competition this season.
Handed a group alongside FC Koln, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov, Arsenal are expected to cruise through the group stages over the course of the coming months and battle into the latter rounds of the competition come Spring.
Arsene Wenger is expected to reshuffle his pack this weekend but is still in-line to name a strong squad, with former England striker Michael Owen predicting that the Gunners will emerge victorious and two key-players will re-enter the fold.
“This is Arsenal’s first European game outside of the Champions League since the 2000 Europa League Final when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray. Cologne’s last win against English opposition in a competitive tie was over 40 years ago and I expect the wait to continue.”
“Although it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsene Wenger shuffled his pack with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud set for a recall.”
Giroud has fallen down the pecking order following the summer signing of Alexandre Lacazette, whilst Alexis came off the bench during last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Bournemouth.