Group H action opens on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League with Arsenal returning, unceremoniously, to the competition to face German side Cologne.
Emirates Stadium, London, England 14 Sep 2017 7:05 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: The UEFA Cup Final in 2000 was the last time the Gunners were in UEFA's secondary club competition.
Expert Verdict: The temptation for Cologne is going to be to try and go for this match in order to kick start their season. And rightly so. They know that Arsenal are weak and that they can seriously take advantage of their depressed mood right now to boost their own. But it will not be an easy feat, still, as the Gunners have a ton of quality players in their side. Just what side Arsene Wenger decides to go with will determine the result, but it's hard to see anything but an Arsenal win right now.
Arsene Wenger is still without center midfielder Santi Cazorla. We do expect heavy rotation here, though, as Wenger is surely in a battle for his job with Premier League results.
After sitting out a good chunk of the match against Bournemouth, Alexis Sanchez will be itching to get a chance to play. It might not be in his idealistic setting, but he will nonetheless go out and try to show why he is still a player of the utmost quality.
The Gunners have had a mixed bag of fortune thus far. After winning the Community Shield, they defeated Leicester before a particularly ugly 4-0 loss away to Liverpool. They did rebound on Saturday, though, with a 3-0 win at home to Bournemouth.
Defenders:Mertesacker, Holding, Kolasinac
Midfielders:Debuchy, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi
Forwards:Alexis, Walcott, Giroud
Peter Stoger will have no injuries or suspensions to deal with after goalkeeper Timo Horn recovered from injury to return this weekend.
27 year old left back Jonas Hector is the most well-known player in the Cologne squad, and the German can play a big role in this match for his team in both defending and attacking situations. He's quality on the ball with passing and crossing, but he is just as important and good when defending.
Cologne are in very worrying form at the moment, having lost each of its three opening Bundesliga matches. Most troubling was the 3-0 loss away to Augsburg on Saturday that leaves them looking like relegation contenders at this early stage.
Defenders:Klunter, Sorensen, Heintz, Hector
Midfielders:Hoger, Lehmann, Zoller, Bittencourt
Arsenal and Cologne have never met in official competition before, but they have played a pair of friendlies before. Both of them were played in Cologne, and both were won by the Gunners. In 2012, they won 0-4 and in 2011 they won 1-2.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Arsenal are at 2/7 to win, a draw is at 9/2, and a Cologne win is at 17/2.
Arsenal are at home and will be big favorites to win this match as they have just dropped out of the Champions League for the first time in well over a decade. On top of that, Cologne have not made a good start in the Bundesliga, and will be going to play at a very tough venue.
Arsenal have not had a ton of success with German sides, as they have lost five out of their most recent seven matches at home to them. However, those are counting sides like BVB and Bayern mostly, and not a team like Cologne.
Cologne have never won a match in England before, with two draws and three losses, making this even more difficult to overcome.
Still yet, it's hard to justify the handicap so +2 and a draw for Cologne at 3/1 looks good.
Cologne go down to the Gunners at the Emirates here, but it won't be by as much as many would think.