Arsenal will prioritise their upcoming Premier League match agaisnt Chelsea, rather that select a strong side to face Cologne in the Europa League. The Telegraph report that Arsene Wenger is set to rest seven key players during the match on Thursday. Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil will all sit out on Thursday. This will give opportunities to the squad players.
Despite the wholesale changes, Arsenal should have enough to pick up the three points on Thursday. Cologne have started the new season in poor form and they will arrive in England with little confidence. It is important that Wenger rotates wisely and this is a good opportunity to rest key players. There is a lot of talent underneath the starting eleven and they deserve a chance to prove what they can do.
Olivier Giroud is one of the players that is likely to come in for the match on Thursday as he hasn’t played a prominent role during the first four Premier League matches. The Frenchman has opened up on his decision to stay at Arsenal during the summer and the Liverpool Echo report the following quotes from the striker:
“It was a private decision. It’s true I was close to leaving because I wanted to play.
“But after a big reflection with everyone around me like my family and close friends, I wanted to stay at Arsenal. I thought the story was not over at Arsenal. The club has given me a lot, I want to win some more trophies.”
Everton were keen on signing the forward as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku and they would have been able to offer him more game time. It is interesting that he believes there is more to be achieved at Arsenal, as it suggests the players don’t think the team is in as bad a place as the media does. The Europa League will offer him a good chance to further his own first-team ambitions and it is important that he performs well.
Mathieu Debuchy is another player that could feature in the Europa League, but he has admitted that he is frustrated he remains an Arsenal player. During the summer, transfers to Brighton and Nice fell through, which means he has been left stranded in North London. The Mirror report the following quotes from an interview with L’Equipe:
“I don’t know what will happen because this summer the coach (Arsene Wenger) would have let me leave without a transfer fee. Brighton also enquired in the last few days of the transfer window. But that came to nothing.
“I cannot predict the future. Some clubs are maybe scared that I haven’t played for a while (since November 27 2016). Maybe my salary is also a problem although I am ready to make an effort on that. I am going to give my best and we will see. I am taking the initiative.”?
It is refreshing to hear that the right-back wants to play football rather than collect big wages, but he remains an Arsenal player and he must now try to make the best of a bad situation. If he gets a chance in the Europa League, it will give him a good opportunity to put himself in the shop window for January.