Michael Owen expects Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud to be brought back in for Arsenal’s Europa League match against FC Köln on Thursday.
The former Liverpool striker thinks that the match will be straightforward for Arsenal, given FC Köln’s relative inexperience at this level, especially recently. But he also believes manager Arsene Wenger will take no chances with his line-up and will name a strong attack.
“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,” said Owen to Bet Victor via Express.
Alexis hasn’t played a full match for the Gunners this campaign, since he had an extended break after his exploits with Chile at the Confederations Cup. He substituted against Liverpool in the second half after a poor display.
The Chilean looked a lot livelier against Bournemouth but came off the bench that day, and Owen clearly believes that now is the time to get him integrated into the side again. Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud’s situation is a lot more simple.
Giroud is playing well and is available, but Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck have been selected ahead of him in the Premier League so far. Wenger will probably want to keep the French international happy and give him minutes to make up for the lack of starts elsewhere.
From Giroud’s point of view, he’ll want to be on the pitch as much as possible given the 2018 World Cup is here next summer. He is also just one goal away from hitting 100 in all competitions for Arsenal.