Starting Lineup & Match Preview: Arsenal vs Cologne- 17-year-old Starts

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Arsene Wenger is set to rotate his squad for Arsenal’s Europa League opener against Cologne on Thursday.

Seven first-team regulars sat out training on Wednesday ahead of the German side’s visit to the Emirates in Group H.

Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka did not train with the matchday squad despite all being match fit.

The Gunners are expected to make changes with an eye on facing defending Premier League champions Chelsea.

“It is a good opportunity to show we can cope,” Wenger said. “We have played on a Wednesday night in Barcelona and against Everton on a Saturday morning.

“When you play Wednesday-Saturday it is similar to Thursday-Sunday. It is a preconceived idea, football is down to how you perform on the day. Three days is plenty of time to recover.

“This [Europa League] is not our best chance of a return [to the Champions League]. It is one of the opportunities. I think the best way to do it is through the Premier League but we want to win every competition we play.”

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