Arsenal v FC Koln Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
September 11, 2017
Emirates Stadium - Europa League
Arsenal meet Koln on Thursday night as they prepare for life outside the Champions League for the first time in over 20 years. The Europa League indeed holds new challenges for the Gunners.
Arsenal have only faced FC Koln once before, in a two legged tie in the 1971 European Fairs Cup, with the Gunners winning 2-1 in London, before losing 1-0 in Germany, and only qualifying for the next round via away goals.
Arsene Wenger's side do have very poor record against German sides in recent European competitions however, with Bayern Munich knocking them out of the Champions League in 2004-05 and 2012-13 and 2016-17.
Arsenal's main injury concern is over French midfielder Francis Coquelin, who was substituted on and then off again during the Gunners' weekend win over Bournemouth. The defensive midfielder is expected to be out for a few weeks with a hamstring problem, meaning Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will continue in central midfield for the hosts.
Wenger's main selection headache will be over striker Alexis Sanchez, after the unsettled Chile international failed to secure an exit on transfer deadline day, Wenger must now find a way to bring the player back in from the cold- despite the good form of Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette.
Defender Calum Chambers remains out with a groin complaint, and midfielder Santi Cazorla will be out until 2018 with an abdominal injury.
FC Koln will be without midfield pair Marcel Risse and Milos Jojic for the trip to London, with calf and knee injuries respectively, with neither player expected to be back in action before September.
Arsenal v FC Koln Preview and Predictions
It has been a season of readjustments for Arsenal this season, adjusting to Sanchez seemingly heading for the exit, before a move was eventually scrapped and also adjusting to life outside of the Champions League.
Last season's fifth place finish mean that Arsenal are now competing in the Europa League for the first time under Wenger's tenure, and the competition has the potential to make or break their season.
They are already placed as favourites to win the tournament, and if they follow the example of Manchester United in last season's competition, then they have a real chance of success, However if they do not pay the competition the respect that it demands, they could find themselves in for a real shock.
Wenger will be pragmatic in his European approach this season, and a straight forward win over FC Koln would be an ideal start, priced at 2/7.
Despite their resounding 4-0 defeat to Liverpool already this season, and a loss away to Stoke City, Arsenal have netted seven goals already this season- displaying the goal threat that they possess.
Up against a side that not won a Bundesliga game this season, rock bottom of the table, and with just one goal to their name this season- Arsenal should have little trouble finding the net, and Arsenal to win to nil is priced at 11/10.
Arsenal to win 3-0 at 13/2
Arsenal will be hoping that their season is now up and running following a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Bournemouth last weekend and they will be eager to continue that form into Europe. FC Koln have shown little to suggest that they will trouble Arsenal, if if the hosts are not quite at their best just yet, and Arsenal should be in a position to take full advantage.
Alexandre Lacazette to score first at 11/4
French international Lacazette took less than a minute to score his first goal for Arsenal on his debut against Leicester City, and he is the man in form for Wenger's side with a goal in their win over the Cherries at the weekend. Welbeck also netted twice in the win, bringing his season tally up to three for the season so far, one more than Lacazette, he is 10/3 to score first.