A victory over local rivals Tottenham Hotspur has given Arsenal great hope of making this season a successful one. They are back in action this Thursday, in their 5th game of the group stage of the Europe League. The Gunners are unbeaten in the competition and stand at the top of their group, but face a tricky trip to Germany to face FC Koln on Matchday 5.
They only managed to take a point from their previous game in this competition at home but Wenger is expected to rest most of his first-team stars, giving his youngsters a chance to showcase their talent at the highest stage and here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie:
Strikers Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are both back to training and have travelled with the squad for this game along with defenders Calum Chambers and Rob Holding, all of who are expected to start this tie.
Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Chambers, Debuchy, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Elneny, Coquelin, Wilshere, Welbeck, Macey, Willock, Nketiah, Giroud, Osei-Tutu, McGuane, Sheaf, Akpom, Da Silva
Expected line up (3-4-3):
Though Matt Macey has done a decent job in the last few outings in the competition, he is expected to be replaced by David Ospina, Wenger’s no.2, for this game. He will be guarded by a three-man backline, with German ace Per Mertesacker, starting at the heart of it.
Calum Chambers and Rob Holding were both absent from the game at the weekend but both the players have travelled with the squad and are expected to start on either side of Mertesacker in this tie.
Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have done exceptional jobs as wing-backs for Arsenal in this competition so far and there is no reason for Wenger to keep them out of the starting lineup for this trip to Germany.
Mohamed Elneny, who started as a part of the backline in the last couple of games in Europe, can now be used in a more natural, midfield role, partnering him with Joe Willock, who deserves more game time after his recent exploits in the midfield.
With Arsenal already qualifying for the next round of the competition, the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette are all rested for this game. However, Wenger still has French ace Olivier Giroud to lead the line.
Giroud is just back from an injury but is expected to start through the middle with English playmaker Jack Wilshere and attacker Danny Welbeck on either side. Wilshere has been productive this season and will hope that Welbeck, who is also back from an injury just recently, can put on a show in Germany.
The likes of Eddie Nketiah, Chuba Akpom, Mathie Debuchy and Matt Macey are all expected to make the bench. Here is how they might line up:
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