Arsenal may have finished top of their Europa League group but the performance against Cologne showed that Arsene Wenger’s second string won’t be good enough to reach the latter stages of the Europa League. The stalemate between BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade means that the Gunners finish top of Group H despite a draw and defeat in their last two tournament games.
Wenger didn’t need to field a full strength line-up for Arsenal’s away match in Cologne and past results would suggest the team he fielded on paper are more than capable of securing a positive result against the side currently bottom of the Bundesliga. However, a combination of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny in midfield appeared to put Jack Wilshere in shackles for much of the game with the Englishman forced to drop deep and collect the ball.
Coquelin, who has looked a shadow of the defensive midfielder who shone alongside Santi Cazorla at the Etihad two years ago, has always been a limited player but was culpable for the eventual conceded penalty after misplacing a pass in his own half which Sehrou Guirassy latched onto to win a dubious spot kick. If the free-kick won by Alexis Sanchez against Tottenham was questionable then this one certainly was.