Early Europa League team news: seven absent from training


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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