FC Köln manager Peter Stoger has labelled Arsenal “clear favourites” for Thursday’s European encounter.

Arsenal and FC Köln will kick-off their Europa League campaigns when they face each other at the Emirates on Thursday night. It’s a game the Gunners are expected to win, and Köln manager Peter Stoger has accepted this.

“If we were to take something positive [from the Arsenal match], it could help us in the Bundesliga,” Stoger said, reports ESPN. “Even though it’s no question who’s the favourite.”

While this may sound like a manager putting pressure on Arsenal, Köln have had a poor start to the season and won’t go into the game in the best of shape. They’ve lost their opening three Bundesliga games, scoring once and conceding seven.

Though it’s early days, they sit bottom of the table. Part of their problem has been with replacing last season’s top scorer Anthony Modeste. It was his 25 Bundesliga goals that propelled FC Köln up the table into the Europa League places. He then went on to join Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

Arsenal aren’t exactly in the best possible shape either, but do go into the game with a win behind them and a slightly happier dressing room. Both teams face tough opposition the following Sunday, with Arsene Wenger’s men travelling to Chelsea and FC Köln playing Borussia Dortmund.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,