Should Arsenal get as much as a point away from home against FC Cologne in the Europa League tomorrow and BATE Borisov avoid defeat at home to Red Star Belgrade, the Premier League side will top Group H. The Gunners currently have 10 points from four matches, whilst Red Star have five points and are second in the table with two games to go.
Ahead of the match, Arsenal released a picture on arsenal.com showing Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere in training, which means the Gunners do not have any major new injury problems. Santi Cazorla is currently out injured and he is the only first team player who definitely won’t be involved tomorrow.
David Ospina has missed the last two Europa League matches due to injury. He has returned to full training and is expected to start in goal against the Germans. Matt Macey is likely to be on the bench and Petr Cech left at home.
Arsene Wenger will most likely play the 3-4-2-1 formation once again. What’s doubtful is if any of the three regular centre-backs; Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal, will be in action against Cologne. Wenger is likely to give game time to the trio of Mathieu Debuchy, Rob Holding and Per Mertesacker.
With Debuchy playing in the centre-back role, Wenger could choose to play Hector Bellerin in the right wingback position. There is also the option of playing Reiss Nelson but we believe it will be Bellerin over the youngster. Sead Kolasinac is likely to be given some time off, hence we expect versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles to be trusted in the left wingback position.
It is difficult to guess what Arsene Wenger will do in the right attacking midfield position, especially considering the poor form of Theo Walcott of late. Also, the former Southampton youngster is likely to miss the match due to injury, according to Physio Room . My guess is Wenger will go for Alex Iwobi here.
Jack Wilshere seems to have finally overcome his injury woes and could do with some game time. He may not finish the game but we expect him to start as the left attacking midfielder.
Olivier Giroud is back in training again, but tomorrow’s match may come too soon for the French international to start. He will likely start from the bench while Danny Welbeck will be trusted for the goals up front.