The Europa League Fixture-
Arsenal came back strongly after conceding one goal against the run of play and secured a comfortable victory with a margin of 3-1 at the end to begin their campaign in Europa League this season. Arsene Wenger rotated the starting XI of Arsenal for this match heavily as expected. Only Nacho Monreal, Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez will probably start from this line up against Chelsea in the north London Derby on Sunday. Oliver Giroud got a start ahead of his France International teammate Lacazette.
Theo Walcott got his chance in place of Danny Welbeck in the first eleven. Iwobi and Elneny started in the central midfield while Holding and Mertesacker were given the chance in the defense. Maitland Niles also started in the right flank in place of Kolasniac.
The match started with Arsenal trying to get control of it but at the 8th minute of the match FC Koln got the lead against the run of play when Bittencourt provided a beautiful ball towards Cordoba and he placed the ball towards the goal with Ospina having no clue of it. After that unexpected goal Arsenal tried to come back hard in front of their home fans and did not get the break through they needed to open the mouth of the goal.
FC Koln were defending well but all of a sudden at 34th minute their main player, the German International, Hector was injured and had to be replaced by Jojic. The first half had ended with the German club leading with one goal advantage.
At the beginning of second half, Wenger had changed Holding and fielded Kolasniac and this change proved to be pivotal for them as in the 48th minute Kolasniac had levelled the scoreline and inspired the whole team for a spirited comeback. After that, one after one attacks of Arsenal were disturbing the defensive organisation of FC Koln.
At the 64th minute FC Koln manager had replaced Zoller with Risse to strengthen the defense. But it did not prove to be very wise decision for them as at the next minute Alexis Sanchez’s brilliant strike from Iwobi’s pass had given Arsenal the lead in the match for the first time.
Iwobi was then replaced by Wilshere at 67th minute. Now, FC Koln became desperate to get a goal and level the scoreline. So, they replaced one defender , Klunter to Osaka to make a come back at 75th minute of the match.
On the 80th minute of the match Bellerin’s strike towards the goal had given Arsenal the lead of 2 goals and it was impossible for FC Koln to come back from that. Nelson was also given a chance to play in place of Walcott at 81st minute of the match. The match had ended with a decent margin of 3-1 for Arsenal.
This win will surely help Arsenal to increase the hope of qualifying as the Group toppers of Group H to the next round. FC Koln’s poor run of form continued as they failed to win any of their matches in this season till date.
On Sunday, Arsenal will face previous season’s Champions Chelsea who are in a great form winning back to back four matches in all competitions. The contest at Stamford Bridge will surely be tough for Arsenal but they would be boosted up with confidence after this convincing win against FC Koln in Europa League.
Positive Signs For Chelsea?
The first half performance by the Gunners was really poor and it would have “put a smile” on the faces of the Blues’ fans, as the north Londoners were trailing by a single goal. This would mean that if Chelsea can exploit their early chances, they might end up dominating the game and can take back all three points from the fixture.
It will all depend upon the kind of tactics that the Italian manager employs and things will surely be intense at the weekend, with Wenger looking to win the game as well.