THE EUROPA LEAGUE returns on Thursday night. Here Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) picks out his favourite fancy from Arsenal's encounter with Koln at the Emirates.
Arsenal v Koln | Thursday 14th September 2017, 20:05 | BT Sport
This is the first time in 17 seasons that Arsenal haven’t qualified for the Champions League. The last time they were in the Europa League (or the UEFA Cup as it was previously known) was in the 1999/2000 campaign, and the Gunners finished as runners-up to Galatasaray.
Arsene Wenger has already said that he will be resting several players at the Emirates including Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Danny Welbeck, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka. As far as I know, Alexandre Lacazette will play and he’s been involved in 10 goals in his last 10 starts in the Europa League (eight goals, two assists).
Similarly to Arsenal, Koln have been strangers to this competition in recent years. Their last participation in the UEFA Cup was all the way back in 1992, where they lost to Celtic 3-2 on aggregate.
The German side lost their star striker Anthony Modeste in a £31 million move to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian this summer and I’m not convinced Jhon Cordoba, who Koln brought in to replace him, can replicate the 25 goals Modeste scored last season.
I can see Arsenal beating Koln quite comfortably. Even if they do decide to rest some of their key players, I think they’ll have enough to beat a side who have started the Bundesliga without a win from their first three games.
I also reckon the Billy Goats will struggle to score with Modeste no longer at the club, so I fancy Arsenal to win ‘to nil’ at 31/20 with BetVictor.
Arsenal v Koln – Arsenal to win ‘to nil’ (31/20 BetVictor)