April 22, 2018

Wenger prefers top-four finish over Europa League glory

14 September 2017, 01:17 | Kristopher Drake

Arsenal team news Alexis starts up front in Europa League opener

Arsenal team news Alexis starts up front in Europa League opener

The Arsenal defender spoke exclusively to Sky Sports ahead of his side's mammoth showdown with Antonio Conte's Blues on Sunday, and insisted that there was no reason why Arsene Wenger's men couldn't replicate their London rivals' success from 2016/17.

Arsenal have made a poor start to the campaign, losing twice in their opening four league games.

Wenger is expected to rotate heavily as Arsenal enter the group stage of Europe's second-tier competition for the first time under the Frenchman, and with a crucial Premier League game at Chelsea on Sunday.

Arsenal will be looking to record back-to-back victories this week when they face Bundesliga side FC Koln in the Europa League.

"We played Wednesday night in Barcelona and Saturday morning at Everton [in March 2016] and we won".

Arsene Wenger revealed that he will take the competition "seriously" but admitted rotation will occur during the group stages as Arsenal look to challenge on all fronts.

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However, Alexis Sanchez is likely to start the match, after training in the last three days following his appearance off the bench against Bournemouth.

Many fans have pointed out that the last two Premier League champions - Chelsea and Leicester - did not have the distraction of European football as they waltzed to their domestic trophy triumphs.

And ahead of the visit of Cologne, Iwobi stated that he is set to return to action for the Gunners. If he is injury-free, he will come back to his best. Truth be told, few Arsenal supporters genuinely looked forward to watching the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski play at the Emirates on big European nights; it usually only results in pain and humiliation.

It is the first time in 21 years that Arsenal have not been involved in the Champions League after they finished fifth in the Premier League last season.

"We needed this win definitely because we had a tough start, but with the two away games it was not easy and we wanted to bounce back as we can and it was a great, strong character response", he said somewhat predictably.

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