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Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - November 18, 2017 Burnley's Stephen Ward shoots at goal. Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - November 18, 2017 Burnley's Jack Cork scores their first goal. Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - November 18, 2017 Burnley's Ashley Barnes celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates. Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Why a tricky winger like Wilfried Zaha could be the final piece in Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs jigsaw

We are more than three months into the Premier League season, and talk of Tottenham Hotspur's form at their temporary abode Wembley has subsided. The vexatious 'curse' that supposedly plagued them at the national stadium is no more, with victories against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and most notably Real Madrid laying it to rest. A 'home' fixture against managerless West Bromwich Albion then, should be the perfect game to banish memories of a north London derby defeat. Well, perhaps not.  Tottenham's matches at Wembley can be divided into two categories: games in which they gave the ball to their opponents, and games in which their opponents gave the ball to them. The heralded Champions League wins and 4-1 demolition of Liverpool are the former: 10 goals scored, three conceded and average possession of 35%. Home draws with Swansea and Burnley, and a frustrating home defeat against Chelsea are the latter: two goals scored, three conceded and an average possession of 67%. Laboured 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Crystal Palace were also games in which Spurs monopolised the football.  The timing of the first goal, absentees on each day and general variance have to be taken into account, but Spurs are certainly developing a taste for counter-attacking football. Even at the Emirates last weekend, Spurs enjoyed 58% possession - though they were trying to retrieve a two-goal deficit. However, a striking feature of that match was that they never really threatened a comeback once Arsenal sat off and ceded the ball to them. With all that possession, their Expected Goals total was around 0.6 - their lowest in any league game this season.  Tottenham making hard work of breaking down deep-lying defences is not a fresh development. The seven-point gap to Champions Chelsea last season can be accounted for by rueful away draws at West Brom, Bournemouth and Sunderland and notably, their 1-0 loss to West Ham at the London Stadium. This could also be a behavioural habit picked up by playing at Wembley. The pitch has an extra 440 square metres of space than White Hart Lane and, as Pochettino found out to his cost in Europe last season, Spurs found it difficult to replicate their high-pressing defensive strategy. The extra metre or two here and there meant they were less compact, and accomplished sides like Monaco made them pay. Against Dortmund, Real and Liverpool, Pochettino has altered their approach to more of a 'half-court' press. Spurs drop into their shape, before squeezing opponents in the middle third.  Spurs have enjoyed mixed fortunes at Wembley - dropping points to Burnley and Swansea Credit: Reuters One cannot be too critical of a team who have accumulated more points than anyone in the Premier League over the last two years, but at times Spurs' attacking play can be appear rudimentary. They are very direct, firing off shots from all manner of angles and distances. Fortunately, one of those players shooting on sight is Harry Kane, and his efforts have an uncanny tendency to find the bottom corner. However, they are not really a creative team in the traditional sense - only Christian Eriksen brings some forensic precision in the final third, and they have no comparable player elsewhere in the squad. Dele Alli may have started his Tottenham career in central midfield, but he is developing into more of a second striker whose strengths are off-the-ball movement and anticipation in the penalty area. Notwithstanding the more prosaic point that he is just not playing very well.  Hence, when teams sit in against Spurs, defending their six-yard box with a barricade of defenders to block their shots and driven crosses, it can be a struggle to forge an opening. There are several ways to break down this type of approach. One is with shots from distance - the most inefficient option but one Spurs are happy to try. Another is though crosses stood up from the byline. The more 'sophisticated' option is to play through the standing bodies with sharp one-touch inter-play. Spurs are capable of this, but it is not as engrained in their style as Manchester City or Arsenal.  Another route around the deep-lying defence is with a pacy dribbler to crack open the game. Beating one man and taking a piece off the chessboard can send a rearguard into chaos as they are forced to make quick adjustments. The lack of this profile of player is the one hole in an otherwise well-balanced, organised Tottenham collective.  Tottenham wave goodbye to White Hart Lane Spurs, particularly when they employ three-centre backs, tend to get their width with their full-backs. Kieran Trippier has excellent delivery, but is never going to beat a player. Serge Aurier can be a fantastic outlet, but tends to favour playing a one-two with a teammate and galloping into space. Against the lesser likes at Wembley this space is not always there. Danny Rose is probably a combination of the two styles, but his long-term future at the club is unclear.  Reports of their interest in Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha therefore, makes perfect sense. Some Spurs fans might struggle to get excited about spending a substantial amount on a player whose best Premier League season consisted of seven goals and 11 assists. However, he is shining in a struggling Palace outfit and has all of the attributes to fill Tottenham's void in wide areas. In the absence of Christian Benteke, Zaha has also played through the middle and carried the responsibility of being his team's main goalscorer.  Zaha might be short of the 'world class' player fans crave (what does the phrase really mean anyway?) but he possesses attributes this Tottenham squad lack. When that is the case, it is usually a good idea to try to acquire them. 

Why a tricky winger like Wilfried Zaha could be the final piece in Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs jigsaw

We are more than three months into the Premier League season, and talk of Tottenham Hotspur's form at their temporary abode Wembley has subsided. The vexatious 'curse' that supposedly plagued them at the national stadium is no more, with victories against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and most notably Real Madrid laying it to rest. A 'home' fixture against managerless West Bromwich Albion then, should be the perfect game to banish memories of a north London derby defeat. Well, perhaps not.  Tottenham's matches at Wembley can be divided into two categories: games in which they gave the ball to their opponents, and games in which their opponents gave the ball to them. The heralded Champions League wins and 4-1 demolition of Liverpool are the former: 10 goals scored, three conceded and average possession of 35%. Home draws with Swansea and Burnley, and a frustrating home defeat against Chelsea are the latter: two goals scored, three conceded and an average possession of 67%. Laboured 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Crystal Palace were also games in which Spurs monopolised the football.  The timing of the first goal, absentees on each day and general variance have to be taken into account, but Spurs are certainly developing a taste for counter-attacking football. Even at the Emirates last weekend, Spurs enjoyed 58% possession - though they were trying to retrieve a two-goal deficit. However, a striking feature of that match was that they never really threatened a comeback once Arsenal sat off and ceded the ball to them. With all that possession, their Expected Goals total was around 0.6 - their lowest in any league game this season.  Tottenham making hard work of breaking down deep-lying defences is not a fresh development. The seven-point gap to Champions Chelsea last season can be accounted for by rueful away draws at West Brom, Bournemouth and Sunderland and notably, their 1-0 loss to West Ham at the London Stadium. This could also be a behavioural habit picked up by playing at Wembley. The pitch has an extra 440 square metres of space than White Hart Lane and, as Pochettino found out to his cost in Europe last season, Spurs found it difficult to replicate their high-pressing defensive strategy. The extra metre or two here and there meant they were less compact, and accomplished sides like Monaco made them pay. Against Dortmund, Real and Liverpool, Pochettino has altered their approach to more of a 'half-court' press. Spurs drop into their shape, before squeezing opponents in the middle third.  Spurs have enjoyed mixed fortunes at Wembley - dropping points to Burnley and Swansea Credit: Reuters One cannot be too critical of a team who have accumulated more points than anyone in the Premier League over the last two years, but at times Spurs' attacking play can be appear rudimentary. They are very direct, firing off shots from all manner of angles and distances. Fortunately, one of those players shooting on sight is Harry Kane, and his efforts have an uncanny tendency to find the bottom corner. However, they are not really a creative team in the traditional sense - only Christian Eriksen brings some forensic precision in the final third, and they have no comparable player elsewhere in the squad. Dele Alli may have started his Tottenham career in central midfield, but he is developing into more of a second striker whose strengths are off-the-ball movement and anticipation in the penalty area. Notwithstanding the more prosaic point that he is just not playing very well.  Hence, when teams sit in against Spurs, defending their six-yard box with a barricade of defenders to block their shots and driven crosses, it can be a struggle to forge an opening. There are several ways to break down this type of approach. One is with shots from distance - the most inefficient option but one Spurs are happy to try. Another is though crosses stood up from the byline. The more 'sophisticated' option is to play through the standing bodies with sharp one-touch inter-play. Spurs are capable of this, but it is not as engrained in their style as Manchester City or Arsenal.  Another route around the deep-lying defence is with a pacy dribbler to crack open the game. Beating one man and taking a piece off the chessboard can send a rearguard into chaos as they are forced to make quick adjustments. The lack of this profile of player is the one hole in an otherwise well-balanced, organised Tottenham collective.  Tottenham wave goodbye to White Hart Lane Spurs, particularly when they employ three-centre backs, tend to get their width with their full-backs. Kieran Trippier has excellent delivery, but is never going to beat a player. Serge Aurier can be a fantastic outlet, but tends to favour playing a one-two with a teammate and galloping into space. Against the lesser likes at Wembley this space is not always there. Danny Rose is probably a combination of the two styles, but his long-term future at the club is unclear.  Reports of their interest in Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha therefore, makes perfect sense. Some Spurs fans might struggle to get excited about spending a substantial amount on a player whose best Premier League season consisted of seven goals and 11 assists. However, he is shining in a struggling Palace outfit and has all of the attributes to fill Tottenham's void in wide areas. In the absence of Christian Benteke, Zaha has also played through the middle and carried the responsibility of being his team's main goalscorer.  Zaha might be short of the 'world class' player fans crave (what does the phrase really mean anyway?) but he possesses attributes this Tottenham squad lack. When that is the case, it is usually a good idea to try to acquire them. 

Burnley vs Arsenal: Premier League prediction, team news, line-ups, start time, live, TV, head to head, odds

Burnley vs Arsenal: Premier League prediction, team news, line-ups, start time, live, TV, head to head, odds

Burnley vs Arsenal: Premier League prediction, team news, line-ups, start time, live, TV, head to head, odds

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0: Arsene Wenger's dreadful run in Germany continues with unexpected loss

After the champagne sparkle of that stirring victory over Tottenham Hotspur, this was the annoying hangover. Arsenal will go through as winners of Group H, in their first foray into the rebranded Europa League, but this was an unexpected, uninspiring performance which maintains Cologne’s hopes of joining them in the knock-out stage. Sehrou Guirassy’s second-half penalty inflicted a first defeat on Arsenal in Europe this season to ensure another miserable experience for Arsene Wenger on German soil. Wenger has now gone four games without a win in this country. BATE Borisov’s stalemate with Red Star Belgrade rendered this result largely irrelevant, but this was a world away from the thrilling win over Mauricio Pochettino last Saturday. Danny Welbeck played 45 minutes in his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat at Watford in October and looked sharp, while there was another encouraging performance from young winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But that was as good as it got, with the scenes of wild celebration at the end belonging to Cologne’s supporters, as they savoured a memorable night and only a second win at the RheinEnergieStadion this season. Danny Welbeck returned for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Wenger said: “You feel like you have done the job if you finish top of the group. I will tell you what it means after the draw, but finishing top is what we wanted. “We have lost a game here with their only shot on goal so that is disappointing. It is not a penalty at all and we missed a little bit in the final third. “We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. The pitch was a little handicap but I cannot fault the preparation or the concentration of the players.” There was a timely return for Welbeck, a striker anxious to make up for lost time, as Wenger made 11 changes to the starting XI that humbled Spurs. Welbeck’s hopes of being included in England’s squad for the World Cup next year are very much under threat after playing only one game in the last two months. Jack Wilshere makes a point to the ref Credit: Getty Images Gareth Southgate has a determination to utilise emerging talent while he also warned that players who do not play consistently for their club sides are in danger of missing out. Welbeck was clearly on a mission to make an impression before he was taken off at half-time as a precaution, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley. “He was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off but he’s in good shape,” said Wenger. “It was planned before the game because we have three games coming up and medically it would have been a risk to play him for longer. He has no problem but he's been out for a while." Arsenal had secured qualification before this trip to western Germany but this was a typically mundane experience in the competition viewed as European football’s wooden spoon. In a lifeless first-half Arsenal came closest to taking the lead from the most unlikely of sources. Francis Coquelin is still waiting patiently for his first goal, nine years after making his debut, and nearly produced a Eureka moment on the half hour when unmarked in the box - but he struck the post from six yards. Sehrou Guirassy scores from the spot Credit: Reuters Cologne are currently the Bundesliga’s bottom club and their game plan was to use pace against an Arsenal back three not renowned for mobility but counter-attacks frequently collapsed, much to the frustration of a boisterous home support. Yet the crucial moment came just after the hour, when Mathieu Debuchy clumsily fouled Guirassy in the area. Guirassy, who had proved a sporadic menace, dispatched the penalty with ease and the noise was deafening, the two towers either side of the stand flashing red and white. Arsenal did respond, with Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere both forcing dramatic saves from Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal substitute, also tested Horn as time ticked away before Wilshere was denied, again spectacularly, in added time. Yet Cologne secured the victory which sets up an intriguing final game against Red Star next month. 7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne vs Arsenal, Europa League: live score updates

  7:55PM Full time, Cologne nab the win Arsenal were the better side on the whole but Cologne did well to nick all three points. For the home side, it's a famous European win against one of the biggest clubs in England. For Arsenal, it's a mildly embarrassing result against the side rock bottom of the Bundesliga, though the North Londoners still top the group after Red Star Belgrade could only muster a draw with BATE Borisov. 7:52PM 90+2 mins Wilshere hits an absolute belter from 20 yards, but Timo Horn makes yet another good save. 7:50PM 89 mins Two great chances for Arsenal! First Reiss Nelson winds his way into the box and sees a close-range rocket saved by Timo Horn. Next, Wilshere crosses for Eddie Nketiah to poke home, but several desperate Cologne defenders throw themselves in the way. 7:48PM 88 mins Sehrou Guirassy gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Per Mertesacker. 7:46PM 84 mins Wilshere makes a jinking run forward and chips a pass towards Olivier Giroud, but it's just slightly overhit and the Frenchman can't get a header on goal. 7:43PM 83 mins Arsenal bring on League Cup hero Eddie Nketiah for Mathieu Debuchy. 7:42PM 82 mins Arsenal are sleepwalking to a loss to the bottom side in the Bundesliga, as things stand. It's a much-changed team but, still, a win for Cologne would be a blow to the pride of the players involved. 7:36PM 75 mins Great chance for Olivier Giroud, who makes a rare off-the-shoulder run and gets in one-on-one. Defender Jannes Horn and goalkeeper Timo Horn combine to keep him out. The former is down and in a bit of pain, having made an excellent last-ditch tackle and been caught on the shin by Giroud. Jannes and Timo Horn combine to stop Olivier Giroud Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:33PM 72 mins Cologne use their final substitution to bring off Yuya Osako for midfielder Matthias Lehmann. 7:28PM 67 mins Arsenal make another substitution, with Calum Chambers off for Reiss Nelson. 7:26PM 65 mins Another save for Timo Horn to make, this time a long-range fizzer from the boot of Jack Wilshere. Arsenal are ramping up the pressure but aren't making too many cutting-edge chances right now. 7:24PM 63 mins Chance for Mertesacker! The big German gets a header on target from a corner, but it's pushed out by Timo Horn. Olivier Giroud is inches away from converting on the rebound. Per Mertesacker gets his head to the ball Credit: Martin Meissner/AP 7:23PM GOAL! Cologne 1-0 Arsenal Cologne are ahead against the general run of play. That penalty decision will be a post-match talking point, with the challenge by Debuchy seeming fairly innocuous. 7:22PM 61 mins Penalty Cologne! Mathieu Debuchy tangles with Guirassy and the referee gives it, though it looks like a questionable decision. 7:20PM 59 mins Chance for Cologne, but Sehrou Guirassy doesn't make the most of it. A long ball falls kindly for the French forward, but he only half connects with the shot and David Ospina scoops it up gratefully. 7:17PM 56 mins It's a second substitution for Cologne, who bring off Jhon Cordoba for Pawel Olkowski. Can Cologne keep Arsenal from scoring this evening? Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 7:16PM 55 mins Iwobi combines with Wilshere and powers to the edge of the Cologne box, but his shot is blocked. 7:12PM 50 mins Maitland-Niles picks up where he left off, winning Arsenal a corner on the left. Elneny's delivery doesn't get past the first man. Not ideal. 7:09PM 48 mins The first yellow card of the match goes to Mathieu Debuchy after a needless foul on Sehrou Guirassy. 7:08PM Substitution for Arsenal Alex Iwobi is on for Danny Welbeck, who Arsene Wenger no doubt wants to protect from a recurrence of his most recent injury. 7:04PM Teams are back out ... for more Europa League football! Hooray! 6:53PM Half time Arsenal started to dominate as the half went on, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles their standout player and Francis Coquelin denied by the post. Cologne have shown very little threat going forwards, with toothlessness up front their main shortcoming as a side. Their defence has been passable, but can they hang on for another 45? Arsenal look to be well on top in Germany Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images 6:47PM 44 mins Elneny takes a long-distance shot which sails harmlessly into the stands. Let's have half time now, please. 6:45PM 42 mins Jack Wilshere wins a free kick in a promising position 30 yards out. Mohamed Elneny's airy delivery is punched away by Timo Horn. 6:44PM 41 mins Welbeck sets up the excellent Maitland-Niles but the youngster's shot rebounds off a wall of bodies. 6:41PM 37 mins Cologne are forced into a substitution after Olivier Giroud and Dominic Maroh come together in the box, with the latter seeming to pull his hamstring in the process. Maroh limps off and Konstantin Rausch comes on in his place. 6:36PM 31 mins Danny Welbeck is the latest Arsenal player to go close, curling a shot just past the far post from the left side of the area. The home side are walking on thin ice here. 6:33PM 29 mins Arsenal hit the post! Olivier Giroud chips a pass through to the onrushing Francis Coquelin, who blasts a shot off the upright and out for a goal kick. No goal, but it's been an enterprising performance from the defensive midfielder so far. Olivier Giroud is slowly playing his way into the game Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 6:32PM 28 mins Ainsley Maitland-Niles again makes massive inroads on the left, lofting a cross straight to the boot of a teammate in front of goal. Sadly, that teammate is Calum Chambers. Timo Horn collects easily. 6:30PM 27 mins Japanese forward Yuya Osako takes a pot shot at David Ospina from long range, but slips over and sees his effort corkscrew horribly wide. That sums up the last ten minutes or so, really. Osako takes on Francis Coquelin Credit: Marius Becker/DPA 6:24PM 19 mins Arsenal have a shot on target and it's off the head of Jack Wilshere, believe it or not. It's straight at Timo Horn, unfortunately. 6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. Francis Coquelin in action Credit: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

FC Cologne vs Arsenal, Europa League: live score updates

  6:23PM 18 mins Maitland-Niles threads through Olivier Giroud to the left of the area, but the Frenchman gets his feet tangled and fails to make anything of the pass. Could it be one of those nights for Arsenal's No.12? 6:18PM 13 mins Close from Coquelin! Having failed to clear their lines after some messy passing in and around the box, Cologne gift Coquelin an opportunity to shoot from 25 yards. He goes surprisingly close, but his effort slams against the advertising boards. It would have been a turn up for the books had the Frenchman scored. 6:15PM 11 mins Some lovely skill from Maitland-Niles almost sees him play a dangerous pass across the box, but he is muscled off the ball at the final second. 6:13PM 10 mins Things have quietened down a bit after a lively start to the game. Arsenal are seeing more of the ball, but only just. 6:09PM 5 mins First chance for the home side! Cologne striker Jhon Cordoba roars up the pitch and blasts at goal from a tight angle, forcing David Ospina into a full-stretch save. 6:04PM 2 mins Good early chance for Arsenal, with Welbeck and Wilshere combining well to send Ainsley Maitland-Niles away into the box. His angled shot is saved by Timo Horn, who confidently comes to collect the resulting corner. 6:01PM Minute's applause for Hans Schafer Schafer was Cologne's all-time top goalscorer and made 39 appearances for West Germany, winning the 1954 World Cup. He died earlier this month at 90 years of age. 5:59PM Teams are out ... and Cologne flags are fluttering in the stands. There's plenty of noise coming from the away fans, too, though the Arsenal contingent have a lot to live up to. Both sets of fans are in fine voice Credit: Maja Hitij/Getty Images 5:53PM Big night for the home fans Having suffered through a miserable start to the season, Cologne fans will no doubt want to enjoy another big European night against Premier League opposition. Will things be as wild as they were in London a couple of months ago? Maybe not, but the atmosphere is still bound to be mega. 5:42PM Cologne team news #effzeh will begin the match against @Arsenal with three strikers. Bench: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bisseck #KOEAFC#ReturnoftheGOATpic.twitter.com/xKuEkY3xYD— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) November 23, 2017 5:40PM Europa League Thursdays Coming off the back of a brilliant but no doubt exhausting victory in the North London derby last weekend, Arsenal have a very 'Europa League' flavour to their line-up tonight. Arsene Wenger has named an entirely different team for the trip to Cologne, with notable inclusions for Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere in attack. An unfamiliar back three of Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding should be interesting, with the defence now featuring that perfect blend of age, youth and extreme ponderousness. Calum Chambers at right wing-back should be similarly dubious in terms of pace – presuming Arsenal's pre-match graphic is accurate – though whether or not the Cologne attack will be able to take advantage is another question. Cologne are currently bottom of the Bundesliga with two points from 12 games, while they also sit bottom of Europa League Group H. They have scored four goals in the league all season which, let's face it, isn't great. Despite giving Arsenal a momentary scare with an early goal at the Emirates back in September, it would be a considerable upset if Cologne got anything from tonight's fixture. Wenger might have named a squad with one eye firmly on Arsenal's next game against Burnley, but the North Londoners should still come away with all three points at the RheinEnergieStadion – Calum Chambers at right wing-back or not. Arsene Wenger arrives at the RheinEnergieStadion Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images 5:04PM Evening all Welcome to coverage of Arsenal's Europa League tie against Cologne, a match which sees the return of Danny Welbeck to first team action. Jack Wilshere also gets a chance to work his way back into Arsenal's Premier League plans with another strong performance in midfield. Here's the full Arsenal line-up: �� How we line up for tonight’s clash with @fckoeln... #COLvAFCpic.twitter.com/pz95afRnB5— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 23, 2017  

Hot or Not - Eriksen's Wembley woes

Will Alexis Sanchez haunt Burnley once again and can Christian Eriksen end his Wembley drought? We take a look at who's hot and who's not in the Premier League.

Hot or Not - Eriksen's Wembley woes

Will Alexis Sanchez haunt Burnley once again and can Christian Eriksen end his Wembley drought? We take a look at who's hot and who's not in the Premier League.

Hot or Not - Eriksen's Wembley woes

Will Alexis Sanchez haunt Burnley once again and can Christian Eriksen end his Wembley drought? We take a look at who's hot and who's not in the Premier League.

Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - November 18, 2017 Swansea City's Tammy Abraham after sustaining an injury. Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Swansea City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - November 18, 2017 Swansea City's Tammy Abraham receives medical attention after sustaining an injury. REUTERS/Peter Powell

Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash

Despite the young striker being forced off on a stretcher against Burnley, the Swansea manager expects the on-loan attacker to recover quickly

Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash

Despite the young striker being forced off on a stretcher against Burnley, the Swansea manager expects the on-loan attacker to recover quickly

Clement expects Abraham to shake off back injury for Bournemouth clash

Despite the young striker being forced off on a stretcher against Burnley, Paul Clement expects Tammy Abraham to recover quickly.

Premier League - Southampton vs Burnley

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton vs Burnley - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - November 4, 2017 Southampton's Cedric Soares in action REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Quiz: Do you know every Premier League club’s most used substitute?

Who are the supersubs for the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Burnley?

Quiz: Do you know every Premier League club’s most used substitute?

Who are the supersubs for the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Burnley?

'Liverpool will have to show our new maturity against Sevilla,' warns Jurgen Klopp

Amid the debris of Liverpool’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last month, Jurgen Klopp decided something had to change. Klopp is an idealist coach, but the idea of being ‘gung-ho’ – a manager who absolves his side of defensive responsibilities so long as they outscore opponents - irritates him. Nevertheless, at his weekly team meeting in the aftermath of the Wembley debacle he informed his squad there would be significant fine-tuning in future away fixtures to prioritise solidity. Liverpool’s next game on the road, at West Ham United, saw him adopt a more conservative, defensive formation. The favoured 4-3-3 made way for a more orthodox 4-4-2, the centre-backs better shielded and full-backs more circumspect in their decisions when to support attackers. What followed was an emphatic victory in the London Stadium, although the opponent’s shortcomings at what proved Slaven Bilic’s wake – combined with the timely return of Sadio Mane - may have been as infuential as Klopp’s tactical tweaks. Tuesday's Champions League trip to Seville will allow a more meaningful assessment of the more pragmatic attitude.  Liverpool are in great form Credit: PA “We wanted to have a more defensive approach. This is true,” explained Klopp. “We had two or three situations where it was an individual problem. In all the other parts it was a team problem. “There were a lot of things we changed to make us more stable. For the West Ham game, in that week, with the knowledge of West Ham and what they had to do in a home game, we decided to sit back more. “We never hesitate to do different things, it is only that we need time for it. It was possible to play like this against West Ham because it is quite a simple thing to do. It was about making clear how we defend and, if they give us the ball, run!  “On this day it was a little bit more clear because of the line-up and because of the three outstandingly quick players. We can't always play like this but it is an opportunity. Sevilla held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield in September  Credit: EPA “It was not too different to a lot of the things we did in the few games before that. Huddersfield was similar. Huddersfield had no counter-attacks and while people might say they didn't want to counter-attack that is not true, they wanted to. “That was the first really important step for us. Maribor was the next challenge for us. Usually in games like this when you don't score early, the first counter-attack for your opponent opens the game. They think 'Oh, now we can start to attack'. That week was not only a very important week for us results-wise. “We will have to show our new maturity 100 per cent in this (Seville) atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second. We have to show how the last games were against a quality opponent.” Despite enduring criticism of their defence Liverpool have consistently looked secure at home, but since August there is a striking contrast in their away record. At Anfield, Burnley are the only visiting side to score in the Premier League. Only Hoffenheim and Sevilla have also registered in this campaign, Liverpool conceding 5 goals in 9 home games in all competitions. Away, they have conceded 17 in 9 games, and the four at Tottenham signified the club’s worst start defensively since 1964. Klopp visibly baulked when informed of this at the time. For the manager and players enough was enough. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 “Everyone realised that we have do everything together. If we defend, then we defend together. If we attack, then we are there,” says centre-back Ragnar Klavan, whose return has coincided with three clean sheets in the last four games.  “Tottenham wasn’t a good game, but after that we made our corrections and the last four games have been alright. “It has always been defence first and then attack and the manager has always tried to tell us that, but maybe in recent games he has put a little bit more emphasis on that. “The last few weeks have been good - one goal conceded in the last four games. This is a good improvement. “It’s about the whole team’s effort from top to bottom. Everyone is investing more defensively and we are more compact. ” Sevilla plan to undermine the recovery. They have not been beaten in their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since last season’s Champions League match against Juventus. They secured a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, and carry the joyous memory of their Europa League Final win of 2016. Klopp was asked if that defeat still hurt and he wanted his side to ‘strike back’. He paused, said ‘yeah’, took a bite from his apple and headed off to drill his team.

'Liverpool will have to show our new maturity against Sevilla,' warns Jurgen Klopp

Amid the debris of Liverpool’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last month, Jurgen Klopp decided something had to change. Klopp is an idealist coach, but the idea of being ‘gung-ho’ – a manager who absolves his side of defensive responsibilities so long as they outscore opponents - irritates him. Nevertheless, at his weekly team meeting in the aftermath of the Wembley debacle he informed his squad there would be significant fine-tuning in future away fixtures to prioritise solidity. Liverpool’s next game on the road, at West Ham United, saw him adopt a more conservative, defensive formation. The favoured 4-3-3 made way for a more orthodox 4-4-2, the centre-backs better shielded and full-backs more circumspect in their decisions when to support attackers. What followed was an emphatic victory in the London Stadium, although the opponent’s shortcomings at what proved Slaven Bilic’s wake – combined with the timely return of Sadio Mane - may have been as infuential as Klopp’s tactical tweaks. Tuesday's Champions League trip to Seville will allow a more meaningful assessment of the more pragmatic attitude.  Liverpool are in great form Credit: PA “We wanted to have a more defensive approach. This is true,” explained Klopp. “We had two or three situations where it was an individual problem. In all the other parts it was a team problem. “There were a lot of things we changed to make us more stable. For the West Ham game, in that week, with the knowledge of West Ham and what they had to do in a home game, we decided to sit back more. “We never hesitate to do different things, it is only that we need time for it. It was possible to play like this against West Ham because it is quite a simple thing to do. It was about making clear how we defend and, if they give us the ball, run!  “On this day it was a little bit more clear because of the line-up and because of the three outstandingly quick players. We can't always play like this but it is an opportunity. Sevilla held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield in September  Credit: EPA “It was not too different to a lot of the things we did in the few games before that. Huddersfield was similar. Huddersfield had no counter-attacks and while people might say they didn't want to counter-attack that is not true, they wanted to. “That was the first really important step for us. Maribor was the next challenge for us. Usually in games like this when you don't score early, the first counter-attack for your opponent opens the game. They think 'Oh, now we can start to attack'. That week was not only a very important week for us results-wise. “We will have to show our new maturity 100 per cent in this (Seville) atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second. We have to show how the last games were against a quality opponent.” Despite enduring criticism of their defence Liverpool have consistently looked secure at home, but since August there is a striking contrast in their away record. At Anfield, Burnley are the only visiting side to score in the Premier League. Only Hoffenheim and Sevilla have also registered in this campaign, Liverpool conceding 5 goals in 9 home games in all competitions. Away, they have conceded 17 in 9 games, and the four at Tottenham signified the club’s worst start defensively since 1964. Klopp visibly baulked when informed of this at the time. For the manager and players enough was enough. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 “Everyone realised that we have do everything together. If we defend, then we defend together. If we attack, then we are there,” says centre-back Ragnar Klavan, whose return has coincided with three clean sheets in the last four games.  “Tottenham wasn’t a good game, but after that we made our corrections and the last four games have been alright. “It has always been defence first and then attack and the manager has always tried to tell us that, but maybe in recent games he has put a little bit more emphasis on that. “The last few weeks have been good - one goal conceded in the last four games. This is a good improvement. “It’s about the whole team’s effort from top to bottom. Everyone is investing more defensively and we are more compact. ” Sevilla plan to undermine the recovery. They have not been beaten in their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since last season’s Champions League match against Juventus. They secured a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, and carry the joyous memory of their Europa League Final win of 2016. Klopp was asked if that defeat still hurt and he wanted his side to ‘strike back’. He paused, said ‘yeah’, took a bite from his apple and headed off to drill his team.

'Liverpool will have to show our new maturity against Sevilla,' warns Jurgen Klopp

Amid the debris of Liverpool’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last month, Jurgen Klopp decided something had to change. Klopp is an idealist coach, but the idea of being ‘gung-ho’ – a manager who absolves his side of defensive responsibilities so long as they outscore opponents - irritates him. Nevertheless, at his weekly team meeting in the aftermath of the Wembley debacle he informed his squad there would be significant fine-tuning in future away fixtures to prioritise solidity. Liverpool’s next game on the road, at West Ham United, saw him adopt a more conservative, defensive formation. The favoured 4-3-3 made way for a more orthodox 4-4-2, the centre-backs better shielded and full-backs more circumspect in their decisions when to support attackers. What followed was an emphatic victory in the London Stadium, although the opponent’s shortcomings at what proved Slaven Bilic’s wake – combined with the timely return of Sadio Mane - may have been as infuential as Klopp’s tactical tweaks. Tuesday's Champions League trip to Seville will allow a more meaningful assessment of the more pragmatic attitude.  Liverpool are in great form Credit: PA “We wanted to have a more defensive approach. This is true,” explained Klopp. “We had two or three situations where it was an individual problem. In all the other parts it was a team problem. “There were a lot of things we changed to make us more stable. For the West Ham game, in that week, with the knowledge of West Ham and what they had to do in a home game, we decided to sit back more. “We never hesitate to do different things, it is only that we need time for it. It was possible to play like this against West Ham because it is quite a simple thing to do. It was about making clear how we defend and, if they give us the ball, run!  “On this day it was a little bit more clear because of the line-up and because of the three outstandingly quick players. We can't always play like this but it is an opportunity. Sevilla held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield in September  Credit: EPA “It was not too different to a lot of the things we did in the few games before that. Huddersfield was similar. Huddersfield had no counter-attacks and while people might say they didn't want to counter-attack that is not true, they wanted to. “That was the first really important step for us. Maribor was the next challenge for us. Usually in games like this when you don't score early, the first counter-attack for your opponent opens the game. They think 'Oh, now we can start to attack'. That week was not only a very important week for us results-wise. “We will have to show our new maturity 100 per cent in this (Seville) atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second. We have to show how the last games were against a quality opponent.” Despite enduring criticism of their defence Liverpool have consistently looked secure at home, but since August there is a striking contrast in their away record. At Anfield, Burnley are the only visiting side to score in the Premier League. Only Hoffenheim and Sevilla have also registered in this campaign, Liverpool conceding 5 goals in 9 home games in all competitions. Away, they have conceded 17 in 9 games, and the four at Tottenham signified the club’s worst start defensively since 1964. Klopp visibly baulked when informed of this at the time. For the manager and players enough was enough. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 “Everyone realised that we have do everything together. If we defend, then we defend together. If we attack, then we are there,” says centre-back Ragnar Klavan, whose return has coincided with three clean sheets in the last four games.  “Tottenham wasn’t a good game, but after that we made our corrections and the last four games have been alright. “It has always been defence first and then attack and the manager has always tried to tell us that, but maybe in recent games he has put a little bit more emphasis on that. “The last few weeks have been good - one goal conceded in the last four games. This is a good improvement. “It’s about the whole team’s effort from top to bottom. Everyone is investing more defensively and we are more compact. ” Sevilla plan to undermine the recovery. They have not been beaten in their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since last season’s Champions League match against Juventus. They secured a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, and carry the joyous memory of their Europa League Final win of 2016. Klopp was asked if that defeat still hurt and he wanted his side to ‘strike back’. He paused, said ‘yeah’, took a bite from his apple and headed off to drill his team.

Premier League team of the week - by Jason Burt

The weekend plaudits go to Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger and rightly so after they produced an outstanding performance – maybe even the performance of the season so far – in out-running, out-fighting and beating Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby. The big question now is having set that standard can they maintain it rather than get wrapped up in selfies social media posting and bragging rights. Recent history suggests not. This team lines up in a 4-3-3 and is managed by Wenger. Heurelho Gomes - goalkeeper  Three brilliant saves from the veteran goalkeeper – including a remarkable double-save – again showed why he is such a cult hero at Watford. Hector Bellerin -right-back  Not been his best season at Arsenal but his dynamic and defensively strong display in the north London derby showed why many regard him as – one his day – the best right-back in the Premier League.  Mustafi was excellent in Arsenal's win over Spurs Credit: GETTY IMAGES Shkodran Mustafi - centre-back  Got his body in the way, tackled, blocked, and was a defensive rock. Quite superb performance from a player who has been such a disappointment since his move to Arsenal. Now he, too, has set the standard. James Tarkowski - centre-back It would have been wrong not to include a Burnley player in the team of the weekend and Tarkowski epitomises them this season as he has got into the team and shown they do not miss Michael Keane. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 Marvin Zeegelaar - left-back  A bloody nose, from an Andy Carroll elbow, inside 30 seconds did not stop the Dutch full-back going on to make an outstanding debut for Watford. Got forward superbly. Kevin De Bruyne - midfielder  Scored another breathtaking goal and has it all. Can score of either foot, assists, passes and gets around the pitch. The best player in the Premier League this season. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Paul Pogba - midfielder Back from his hamstring injury and not yet fully fit Pogba transformed Manchester United – not just in the way they played but in the mood. Scored as well. Mesut Ozil - midfielder When he plays like this he is one of the best in the world. Added work-rate to creativity and appeared to be focussed and motivated. What a difference that makes when a player has as much talent as Ozil. Eden Hazard dribbles round Ben Foster to score his first goal of the game against West Brom Credit: GETTY IMAGES Eden Hazard - forward  Hazard takes the kicks and creates – and scores – the goals. A world-class talent his link-up with Alvaro Morata can be sensational at times. Callum Wilson - striker  The Bournemouth striker’s hat-trick was the story of the weekend. Has been so unlucky with serious injury. Otherwise he would be in the England squad now. Mohamed Salah - forward Jurgen Klopp said Salah can score 70 goals this season and although he will not do that he is quick, with an eye for goal and perfect for Liverpool’s system.

Premier League team of the week - by Jason Burt

The weekend plaudits go to Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger and rightly so after they produced an outstanding performance – maybe even the performance of the season so far – in out-running, out-fighting and beating Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby. The big question now is having set that standard can they maintain it rather than get wrapped up in selfies social media posting and bragging rights. Recent history suggests not. This team lines up in a 4-3-3 and is managed by Wenger. Heurelho Gomes - goalkeeper  Three brilliant saves from the veteran goalkeeper – including a remarkable double-save – again showed why he is such a cult hero at Watford. Hector Bellerin -right-back  Not been his best season at Arsenal but his dynamic and defensively strong display in the north London derby showed why many regard him as – one his day – the best right-back in the Premier League.  Mustafi was excellent in Arsenal's win over Spurs Credit: GETTY IMAGES Shkodran Mustafi - centre-back  Got his body in the way, tackled, blocked, and was a defensive rock. Quite superb performance from a player who has been such a disappointment since his move to Arsenal. Now he, too, has set the standard. James Tarkowski - centre-back It would have been wrong not to include a Burnley player in the team of the weekend and Tarkowski epitomises them this season as he has got into the team and shown they do not miss Michael Keane. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 Marvin Zeegelaar - left-back  A bloody nose, from an Andy Carroll elbow, inside 30 seconds did not stop the Dutch full-back going on to make an outstanding debut for Watford. Got forward superbly. Kevin De Bruyne - midfielder  Scored another breathtaking goal and has it all. Can score of either foot, assists, passes and gets around the pitch. The best player in the Premier League this season. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Paul Pogba - midfielder Back from his hamstring injury and not yet fully fit Pogba transformed Manchester United – not just in the way they played but in the mood. Scored as well. Mesut Ozil - midfielder When he plays like this he is one of the best in the world. Added work-rate to creativity and appeared to be focussed and motivated. What a difference that makes when a player has as much talent as Ozil. Eden Hazard dribbles round Ben Foster to score his first goal of the game against West Brom Credit: GETTY IMAGES Eden Hazard - forward  Hazard takes the kicks and creates – and scores – the goals. A world-class talent his link-up with Alvaro Morata can be sensational at times. Callum Wilson - striker  The Bournemouth striker’s hat-trick was the story of the weekend. Has been so unlucky with serious injury. Otherwise he would be in the England squad now. Mohamed Salah - forward Jurgen Klopp said Salah can score 70 goals this season and although he will not do that he is quick, with an eye for goal and perfect for Liverpool’s system.

Premier League team of the week - by Jason Burt

The weekend plaudits go to Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger and rightly so after they produced an outstanding performance – maybe even the performance of the season so far – in out-running, out-fighting and beating Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby. The big question now is having set that standard can they maintain it rather than get wrapped up in selfies social media posting and bragging rights. Recent history suggests not. This team lines up in a 4-3-3 and is managed by Wenger. Heurelho Gomes - goalkeeper  Three brilliant saves from the veteran goalkeeper – including a remarkable double-save – again showed why he is such a cult hero at Watford. Hector Bellerin -right-back  Not been his best season at Arsenal but his dynamic and defensively strong display in the north London derby showed why many regard him as – one his day – the best right-back in the Premier League.  Mustafi was excellent in Arsenal's win over Spurs Credit: GETTY IMAGES Shkodran Mustafi - centre-back  Got his body in the way, tackled, blocked, and was a defensive rock. Quite superb performance from a player who has been such a disappointment since his move to Arsenal. Now he, too, has set the standard. James Tarkowski - centre-back It would have been wrong not to include a Burnley player in the team of the weekend and Tarkowski epitomises them this season as he has got into the team and shown they do not miss Michael Keane. Beating Spurs is Arsenal's Cup final 39:00 Marvin Zeegelaar - left-back  A bloody nose, from an Andy Carroll elbow, inside 30 seconds did not stop the Dutch full-back going on to make an outstanding debut for Watford. Got forward superbly. Kevin De Bruyne - midfielder  Scored another breathtaking goal and has it all. Can score of either foot, assists, passes and gets around the pitch. The best player in the Premier League this season. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Paul Pogba - midfielder Back from his hamstring injury and not yet fully fit Pogba transformed Manchester United – not just in the way they played but in the mood. Scored as well. Mesut Ozil - midfielder When he plays like this he is one of the best in the world. Added work-rate to creativity and appeared to be focussed and motivated. What a difference that makes when a player has as much talent as Ozil. Eden Hazard dribbles round Ben Foster to score his first goal of the game against West Brom Credit: GETTY IMAGES Eden Hazard - forward  Hazard takes the kicks and creates – and scores – the goals. A world-class talent his link-up with Alvaro Morata can be sensational at times. Callum Wilson - striker  The Bournemouth striker’s hat-trick was the story of the weekend. Has been so unlucky with serious injury. Otherwise he would be in the England squad now. Mohamed Salah - forward Jurgen Klopp said Salah can score 70 goals this season and although he will not do that he is quick, with an eye for goal and perfect for Liverpool’s system.

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