Arsenal team news and predicted line-up for clash with Cologne

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is likely to make sweeping changes to the side that beat Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend when they take on Cologne in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Frenchman has used the competition to give game time to his squad players whilst generally fielding stronger line-ups in the Premier League.

With that in mind, it is possible that none of the starting XI from Saturday’s Premier League triumph will begin the clash with Group H’s bottom club.

David Ospina is expected to come in for Petr Cech between the sticks after returning to the bench for the Spurs match following a spell out of action with a groin strain.

In defence, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding are likely to feature whilst Mohamed Elneny could make up a back three; the Egyptian is naturally a midfielder but played deeper in the 0-0 draw with Red Star Belgrade at the start of November.

Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles also started that fixture and could be recalled here to offer natural pace down the flanks.

In the centre of the park, there should be space for England international Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin, who played 20 minutes against Tottenham as a substitute for striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Olivier Giroud is a doubt with a slight thigh problem but may be picked up front, with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi in behind the France striker.

For Welbeck, the chance to increase his match fitness and get game-time under his belt would be a big bonus, as Wenger’s options in the final third are increased.

With Arsenal already assured a place in the next round of the European competition, star men such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette will surely be rested.

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to face Burnley at Turf Moor and as such Wenger will be keen to rotate his squad in a bid to record victory in both matches.

Possible Arsenal starting XI  vs  Cologne (3-4-2-1): Ospina; Mertesacker, Holding, Elneny; Nelson, Wilshere, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles; Iwobi, Welbeck; Giroud

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