The Gunners kick off their Europa League campaign this week as they welcome German side FC Koln to the Emirates for the unwanted Thursday night clash.

Arsenal head into the game after a morale boosting 3-0 win over a struggling AFC Bournemouth side with bookies making Arsene Wenger’s men the favourites to snatch the win on home soil, meaning now might be the best time to get some bookie deals with paddy power sign up offer details prior to the big kick off.

But should the Gunners be worried as FC Koln make the short trip from the city of Cologne?

A lot depends on how seriously Arsene Wenger is going to take the competition, Europe’s second tier tournament is often viewed as more hassle than it’s worth, but Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho proved its worth by winning the tournament and thus ensuring qualification for this seasons Champions League.

On current form, the Europa League could be a safety net competition for the Gunners in case the league campaign does not go to plan.

It is hard to see Arsenal fans accepting anything other than a strong line-up on Thursday to take on a side who finished an impressive fifth in the Bundesliga last season.

Who are FC Koln?

Bundesliga side FC Koln surprised many with their impressive run up the Bundesliga table last season despite finishing a distant thirteen points behind fourth place Hoffenheim.

The side have won the German title twice but not since 1978 and have recently had spells in the German second division earning promotion back to the big time during the 2013/14 season.

The rise back to Europe has been a swift one with Manager/Co CEO Jörg Schmadtke stabilising the side both on the pitch and financially with the club now seeing the fruition of president Werner Spinner and co’s hard work.

Last season, Anthony Modeste was the danger man up front for the Billy Goats as he fired the club up with the table with 27 goals in all competitions.

However, rather strangely, the 29-year-old now finds himself at Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian on a two-year loan deal.

Jhon Córdoba has been bought in to replace the impressive Modeste after transferring from MSV Mainz for £15.30 million despite only five goals last campaign and as of yet, has failed to fire.

Poor start to the season

Arsenal’s forward line should be rubbing their hands in delight at the prospect of facing Koln on Thursday.

Three games and three losses has been the Billy Goats return in the Bundesliga this season having found the back of the net just once.

Defeats to Borussia Monchengladbach, Hamburg and Augsburg has been poor and showed Koln’s lack of attacking prowess and deficiencies at the back.

Whereas the season has not started as brightly as Wenger would have liked, two wins from four is still a reasonable return so early in the campaign.

Arsenal should have few issues getting their Europa League journey off to a winning start even if a host of youngsters are included in the squad.

However, with Arsenal, we’ve been here before haven’t we.


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