Arsenal face FC Cologne for the second time this season on Thursday night after already earning automatic qualification to the next round of the Europa League.
Although the Gunners have already technically progressed to the next round of the Europa League, a win away to FC Cologne would keep the momentum going in our favour, even if we’re likely to see a very different starting XI to the one Arsene Wenger fielded against Spurs.
The boss will want to keep his strongest team fit for the trip to Turf Moor on Sunday, which Arsenal are favoured to win at odds of 11/20.
Arsenal beat FC Cologne 3-1 back in September. After going 1-0 behind via a Jhon Córdoba goal in the 10th minute, the Gunners fought back in the second half as Sead Kolasinac, Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin all found the back of the net.
Wenger put out a strong starting XI, which probably won’t happen this week as we’ve already progressed and don’t need to risk first team players, and ever since that first Europa League fixture the kids have been doing alright.
While Arsenal are coming off the back of a shock 2-0 victory over Spurs, FC Cologne have lost their last three league clashes in a row.
Predicted score: FC Cologne 1 – 3 Arsenal.
Arsenal are without Santi Cazorla. However, Theo Walcott (illness) and Olivier Giroud (thigh) could return to the fold. Both have featured heavily for the Gunners in the Europa League so far so if they’re match-fit, Wenger will probably start them.
Danny Welbeck has returned from his groin injury but, while he’s likely to start, Wenger could be saving him for the trip to Burnley at the weekend.
Despite his injury problems, the striker has scored three times in six Premier League appearances and with the odds at there being over 2.5 goals during Sunday’s match being at 3/4, Wenger might want him available.
Predicted starting XI: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson, Elneny, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Welbz, Giroud.
The above odds are for the UK only.