Arsenal should use Europa League to give chances to young talent

Kelley Robertson
September 14, 2017

The last time Arsenal played at this level at the outset of a season, Arsene Wenger hadn't yet won his first trophy at Highbury and Reiss Nelson, a player generating great expectation ahead of his likely arrival on the continental scene, hadn't been born.

Koln, too, made it to the Europa League group stage automatically, by finishing fifth in Bundesliga last season.

The Gunners get their European campaign up and running at the Emirates Stadium but will have a notable number of absentees, with a trip to Chelsea in the Premier League just around the corner on Sunday. "We are very focused on this Europa League, we want to go and win it, we are very ambitious and I am looking forward to the game tomorrow". And Wenger is clearly prioritising that one, with a host of big names sitting out Wednesday's session.

Wenger refused to say whether Wilshere will start, but said the midfielder is getting "stronger and stronger every day" after recovering from an ankle fracture suffered towards the end of last season while on loan at Bournemouth.

On Thursday, FC Koln will become the 64th different that Arsene Wenger will face as the Arsenal manager. Alexandre Lacazette's arrival in the summer had deemed him a backup choice at best, but Danny Welbeck's upturn in form is now threatening to put the Frenchman into the periphery. Sometimes it takes time while other clubs use money.

Giroud's next goal will be his 100th in Arsenal colours after he netted his 99th in the 4-3 victory over Leicester in the first game of the new Premier League season.

Arsenal play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"But the most important for me is to win, obviously, and after the goals will come". The prize of winning the Europa League is a place in next season's Champions League, so there is a chance that this may be the Gunners best bet of getting back among Europe's elite sides.

"[The] Europa League is a very important competition for us".

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