Wenger expected to shuffle his deck in Europa League opener - My Arsenal Blog

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Wenger expected to shuffle his deck in Europa League opener

Posted on September 11, 2017 by Milos Markovic

Arsenal are set to start their Europa League campaign with a match against FC Koln on Thursday night at the Emirates.

The Gunners are beginning their first season without the Champions League in last 21 years with a shot at Europe’s second-string competition and will also face FK Crvena Zvezda and BATE Borisov as they look to top Group H.

The north London side are happy to head into the Europa League clash against FC Koln on the back of the convincing 3-0 win away at Bournemouth, which came as a huge improvement to back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Stoke City.

And with Gunners lined up to make a visit to Premier League champions Chelsea at lunchtime at Stamford Bridge next Sunday, Arsene Wenger is expected to make a number of changes to his starting line-up for the upcoming European challenge.

The likes of David Ospina, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Mohamed Elneny and Olivier Giroud are all expected to make a bow, whereas Wenger could also include a couple of talented youngsters such as Reiss Nelson who is a strong candidate for a starting position at right wing-back.

Arsene Wenger heaped praise on the 17-year-old last week, complimenting his attack attributes and suggesting this offensive-minded youngster could be given a chance at the international stage.

On the other side, key defender Laurent Koscielny will miss the Thursday match because of suspension.

The French international is under a one-match ban due to the red card he received during the last season’s 5-1 Champions League defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. Koscielny made a punishable foul on Robert Lewandowski in March and will be forced to sit out the Arsenal Europa League debut even though we are talking about a completely different competition.

In addition to Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal will be without Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla who is still nursing his Achilles Tendon issue. Calum Chambers is a selection doubt due to his groin problem, whereas Alex Iwobi is feeling an abdominal strain that is likely to rule him out of contention.

Arsenal stand at 5/6 betting odds to record an HT/FT win over the German side.

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