Early Europa League team news: seven absent from training

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Arsene Wenger has given his strongest indication yet that he’ll rotate his team heavily for Thursday night’s Europa League encounter with Cologne.

The Arsenal manager also has to contend with a trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and according to James Olley in the Evening Standard, seven first team players were not part of this morning’s training session.

Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey were all absent, but the club insist none of the players are injured.

There are plenty of options for Wenger, with the likes of David Ospina, Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and others ready to start, while youngsters like Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock could also be part of the squad.

Wenger also has to decide whether or not to give Alexis Sanchez some playing time to get him closer to real match fitness, and the Chilean could well be involved from the start.

The manager’s press conference is scheduled to take place at 12.15 this afternoon, and we’ll have more in-depth team news then.

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52 Comments on "Early Europa League team news: seven absent from training"

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pakgooner

Looking forward to a HFB brace and a goal by Theo Thursday night to wrap it up nice and shiny. COYG!

bystander

As Blogs noted today, the only big question marks are at wing-back. 3-4-2-1 suits the first XI fine, but it’s much easier to field a rotated Europa League team with 4-2-3-1 (understandably, as that was our formation until so recently). Debuchy and Chambers are both decent options at right-back (Chambers played there occasionally for Boro last season, and will have an easier time of it in the EL than in the Premier League). Neither is a convincing wing-back option, though, so we might have to field Maitland-Niles or Nelson there with Sead continuing on the left. The rest of the team almost picks itself: three from Per, Holding, Chambers and Mustafi, Elneny and Wilshere, Sanchez, Giroud, Walcott.

Nick

Playing Nelson who Wenger admits is a naturally forward thinking player with a good finish too as a wing back would risk destroying the confidence of a young kid who from what I’ve seen of him could be as good as Henry ,it’s also a criminal waste of his attributes!

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

The first instinct is to treat this competition as nothing more than the reserves league. Just play the reserves. However then there is the issue of Champs League qualification and winning the Europa League could just be the club’s best chance of doing it.

After the poor start there are definitely some doubts about the club to finish in the top 4. The two manchester clubs and Chelsea seem to have the first three spots covered. Then its between Sp*rs Liverpool and Arsenal for the final spot.

Winning the Europa League could just be the best way of doing it.

So its a tricky position to be in.

Making Arsenal Great Again
Making Arsenal Great Again

There are 35 games to go. You can’t even start to project who will finish where until February. Even that’s even too early to start making predictions who’ll finish where

IamaGoober

@Making Arsenal Great Again

That is rubbish. You can 100% see who the serious candidates are for top 4 already.

Man United dropped their first points away at Stoke last weekend, and they’re top level on points with City. So they’ve had a decent start to the season, and they spent truck loads of cash on their squads – so those two are clearly huge favorites to do something this season.

Chelsea are 1 point behind them due to that shock loss on the opening day to Burnley. But they had a difficult window and have only really sorted out there striker problems until after the window has closed. They’re reigning champions so, I think its a fair assumption to predict they’ll be up there too.

Spurs + Liverpool are both on 6 points. Spurs will struggle because Wembley will be too much for them I think. And Liverpool have huge defensive issues which will prevent them from really challenging for top honors in my opinion.

And at this stage there us.

We are already 4 points behind top 2 with 5 games gone. And we are a point behind both Spurs and Liverpool, and we have already lost 4 nil away at Anfield.

So you don’t have to be a mathematical / sporting genius to kind of guess that we will probably be at least 8 points off the top come the end of October.

For us to get top 4 will boil down to how good a season Liverpool and Spurs have.

caligunner

Why are you even here or watching games? Whats the point for you? the season is already a failure so no point in watching. Wait till next summer and see what happens with transfers and wait for the first 3 games to make another evaluation.

Martin

What a genius to work out how the Premier League will work out after just 4 matches.

Loose_Cannon

Agreed up to the Henry comparison, let’s not kill the kid now! Otherwise I agree, it seems that Wenger doesn’t understand that wing back is more of a defensive than offensive role

AshleyGeorge

Can’t agree, It’s right back with less defensive responsibility and more licence to get forward. I don’t see that that’s more defensive than offensive. I’d prefer a start or a sub appearance for Nelson up front but he’d be playing wider in this role anyway which might suit him. Long term i see him maybe as an alexis type player, wing forward, but need to see more of him and time will tell. I’m excited to see his development.

evertsen

Perhaps what comes to mind would be
Ospina – Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Mertesacker, Holding, Iwobi – Elneny, Jack – Walcott, Sanchez, Giroud
?

Theodopolis

Theo for wingback!

Gooner McGoonFace

Chambers is probably the worst RB in the history of Arsenal. He is absolutely not a (good) option at RB. CB or nothing for him. He’s molasses slow.

Danny

He’s not, actually. He just got made to look it by that Swansea winger Montero who rinsed him a couple of times. Montero is lightning fast though and has done the same to lots of players. As usual though, any kind of Arsenal defensive lapse is lapped up by the media, and he was heavily criticised. Wenger wrongly took him out for his own protection and he never seemed to properly come back. He was quality last year for boro and he had a strong u21 performance at the euro’s – and i didn’t see him look short of pace at all.

Mpls

I wouldn’t say that he’s totally slow, and I agree Montero has made plenty look the fool, but the number of times I have seen Chambers get all grabby-hands as his mark blows past him when he’s pushed up makes me not like him at RB.

I prefer him as CB and am curious to see him as a right side of a back three – if we’re lucky that might be his happy medium.

PartyPalour

I think playing Sanchez from start is risky. We have this ‘advantage’ of not playing champs league when everyone else is – if he gets injured in a Europa league game kinda pointless. Keep him hungry for Chelsea 😀

Easy as JVC

I think 60mins will be good for him. Injuries are just part and parcel of the game. In my opinion waiting for Chelsea in a game of that intensity could possibly leave him more prone to picking up an injury. Start him against Cologne he’ll score a first half hat-trick and moonwalk back to the bench for a foot rub.

Jack Flintshire

I’m genuinely excited to see how the likes of Jack & co do in working their holes off and giving the manager something to think about. Cologne aren’t a bad side

Mpls

For starters I’ll be happy to just see Jack back on the pitch in the Arsenal shirt and to see how it goes from there. Let’s hope he gets some time.

henry

As long as Ramsey is in the team, I cant take them seriously

Mpls

Well he’s not in the team going to Cologne, so you can put a cork in that bottle.

SizC

@henry, WTF did you read??? can you read? did you read?

….lol, you remind me of the people that ‘read’ porn mags, but blogs only had a pic of Jack

mogreen

Please put out a strong squad with performance to match. A win please.COYR

TweakinGooner

Come on you Rascals!!!

Toni

It should be a strong enough team to win the match. And some good playing time for those who would not normally get enough playing time.

Ox in the Box

Expected and right thing to do. Europa league gives the Boss an unique opportunity to keep first teamers rested, squad players to be in shape and give youngsters regular opportunities. I know general feeling among internet fanbase it that of despair, but I still harbour high hopes for this team. We have quality team and quality coach despite what pundits want you to believe, and shit will hit the fan for the 5 teams in CL when October comes. A lot of points will be lost and players will get injured when they have to play 3 games a week.

Nick

A “quality ” coach ? A coach who is talking about playing our most exciting forward prospect in decades as a bloody wing back ??? A coach who gets confused about where to play predominantly right or left footed players and plays them on the opposite side to their strengths? A coach who thinks it’s a good idea to play full backs as central defenders while leaving real central defenders on the bench or at home ? A coach who invariably leaves the worst performing player on the field while subbing more often than not a player having a stormer or on a hat trick ? You think those things make him a “quality ” coach ? I’d have to strongly disagree!

nimble foot

Robben is left footed and plays mostly on the right. I don’t see what your point is. You can stop harping on about playing players out of positions, I think we all have a fairly good idea as to why he did that. Let it rest

Tim

Oh come on Robben is played deliberately in that position because his signature move is to cut inside and curl it into the top corner. Unfortunately as Arsenal fans this is something we’ve seen first hand.

Playing Nelson at wing back isn’t a good idea at all.

SB Still

After the years of being knocked out in the first round of knock-out games and sapping out our energy and confidence from the League as well, Europa league feels better. It’s not like Liverpool, Spuds are playing CL with a hope of winning it, they probably will be playing Europa for the 2nd half of the season.

This gives us a chance to rotate the squad quite well, rather than just the odd League Cup games.

We could maybe even win it.

Man Manny

I think this game will reveal one truth: This team has more depth than many pundits and critics are willing to publicly admit. The only sore point is the absence of Cazorla or another player of his ilk (not many are available though).
If we are there or thereabouts in January, and either Caz comes back or Arsene (not holding my breath there) does something in that window, who knows.
But for a man who has publicly demanded that that window be scrapped altogether, he might set the ball rolling by ingoring it altogether.

bendtnerschristmastree
bendtnerschristmastree

think we’ll line up like this;
ospina
chambers, mustafi, holding
nelson, nacho
iwobi, alexis
Giroud

BromleyGooner

As much as Wenger at times has picked the wrong lineup for some games, playing in 9 would be even beyond him.

Bendtnerschristmastree
Bendtnerschristmastree

Lol, wow

GunnerAdz

Good of us to only play with 9

nimble foot

Just goes to show our quality

COYG

Run Sanchez into the ground.

Ashley

I am actually really excited about the Europa league. I am completely disillusioned with the CL as we never get anywhere, always play the same teams and now financially its not a huge difference (and its not like we are trying to sign players anyway, and if we are the lack of CL does not seem to be an issue) then I really don’t mind not being in it.

I am excited to be playing some different teams (plus my wife is half Serbian, and Belgrade is a really fun city for a long weekend!) and seeing the youth get a chance. I think if we get to the knockout stages (we should) and beyond the round of 64 or 32 or however many teams are in this competition to the quarterfinals, that is when you start looking it and thinking ‘we could win this and we should win this’ of course depending on where we are in the league.

Look at United last season who reached a point where it made sense to prioritise the Europa League, and its quite late in the season you can make that decision.

I am hoping to see some squad players put a real shift in tomorrow and give the manager something to think about moving forward. Come on the Arsenal!

VintageFuzz

Give us a shout when you’re this side of Europe, pal. The local Arsenal supporters group is itching for a pint with the English support ☺️

Ashley

I was there for the FA cup final in the Gunner Pub in belgrade! Short of being at Wembley, think it was the best place to watch it!

VintageFuzz

This time we’ll be in the stands. Counting down the days!

Serpent

Bundesliga teams are no pushovers, so a good mix of players who need to proove themselves and some cool heads (BFG). Add a sprinkling of youth and maybe rummage around the back of the garage for another left wingback (Kolasinac can’t play all the games in one season).

Come on! A good result to get some momentum ahead of the blue bastards.

gunnerdare

Ospina

Debuchy-Holding-PER-Kolasinac

Elneny-SuperJack

Walcott – Iwobi- Alexis(60min run out)
Giroud

Man Manny

First team midfield out. Time for Mo Elneny, Iwobi and Wilshere?

Gili Prilasnig

Would be nice to see Nelson and Willock for Sanchez and Wilshere after 60-70 minutes. But not sure if Wenger would start Jack tho

Ross

Ospina
Chambers, mertesacker, holding
Mainland-niles, elneny, Wilshire, kolasinac
Iwobi, Sanchez
Giroud

Just don’t see how Walcott fits in first 11 any more

Mark

I hope Nelson gets an opportunity to start. Will be interesting to see what Theo contributes as he will likely play behind Giroud in an attacking mid position which clearly is not well suited for him.

beNZed

Ospina

Mertesacker

Nelson – Wilshere – Elneny – MaitlandNiles – Kolasinac

Walcott – Iwobi – Sanchez

Giroud

Let’s fuck shit up.

steve

Experience at the back, unique world class ability up top, the youngsters in the middle – job done

——————Ospina——————–
Debuchy—-BFG—-Chambers—-Monreal
———–Wilshere—M-Niles————–
—-Nelson——The Jeff——-Iwobi——
—————–Sanchez——————-

Mean Lean

There is no way that senior players who can’t get into the first team will not start tomorrow. I’m thinking Walcott & Giroud.

Javis

I’d be inclined to give Alexis 60 mins tomorrow, get him uo to speed for Chelsea. We’re gonna need some quality and experience out there, it won’t be a cakewalk..

santori

Makes sense.

Protect them for the weekend…particularly Koscielny but also Granit who is key in midfield.

I think we will definitely see a front two of Giroud and Alexis.

Midfield steward ship may fall on Iwobi in place of Ozil.

Probably Jack and Elneny hold the fort further behind.

Like to see Monreal- Per- Holding (or Mustafi first then Holding)

Looks like Kolasinac may continue and Bellerin. Fullback is an issue as we are short on wingbacks. The alternatives IMO are young Reiss Nelson and maybe Calum (or dare I say Debuchy?)

If we play Mustafi then maybe Calum could get a nod? If its HOlding then we are better off with Bellerin first before subbing him out if job is done (ditto Kolasinac with Nelson)

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