FC Koln vs ArsenalPreview: Gunners can top the group with a victory against the strugglingBundesliga side

FC Koln vs ArsenalPreview: Gunners can top the group with a victory against the strugglingBundesliga side

Arsene Wenger's men have already qualified from Group H, but still have work to do when they travel to Germany.

Matthew Sheppard

Arsenal booked their place in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League on Matchday 4, with a rather uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade.

Though, when the Gunners travel to FC Koln in the penultimate game of Group H, they know that a victory will ensure top spot.

It should yet again, be a mixture of experience and youth that Arsene Wenger takes out to Germany, with the balance so far serving the Gunners very well.

Unbeaten so far

The 0-0 draw last time out to Red Star Belgrade halted Arsenal's impressive 100% record in the group. Though you could say it wasn't the hardest of groups for Wenger's side, the professionalism in the way that Arsenal have shown throughout the competition so far has been admirable.

Players such as Mathieu Debuchy, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny and Olivier Giroud, who don't see much first team football, have all taken their chances when Thursday nights come around.

The competition has also been a chance for Jack Wilshere to re-establish himself in an Arsenal shirt. Some stand-out performances so far from the England midfielder has put him right back in to Wenger's first team frame.

Form in all competitions crucial?

Saturday's 2-0 victory in the North London Derby has certainly raised spirits again around the club. Arsenal deservedly got heaped with praise after the manner of their performance against their bitter rivals, with that level now expected to be maintained heading in to the festive months.

Arsenal have three Premier League games in six days coming up, starting with a tricky looking trip to Burnley this Sunday, before back-to-back home games against Huddersfield and Manchester United.

The games won't let up from here till Christmas now for Arsenal, and sustaining form in each competition is going to be pivotal for the Gunners, as Wenger's squad depth is set to be tested in the coming weeks.

Koln in deep trouble

It has been an awful first quarter of the season for FC Koln, as they currently sit rock bottom of the Bundesliga table.

After what was such a stunning campaign last time out, where of course they clinched European football for the first time in many decades, this season has proved to be more of a nightmare than a dream.

The German outfit also sit bottom of Group H, though are still in with a chance of qualifying after picking up their first win of the competition against Bate Borisov last time out.

When these two last met, on Matchday 1, it is safe to say it was a rather eventful evening at the Emirates. Koln raced in to a 1-0 lead early on through Jhon Cordoba, before strikes from Sead Kolasinac, Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin soon turned the game around.

Team news

The Gunners will be without Theo Walcott, after the midfielder did not travel with the squad through illness.

Though, Olivier Giroud and David Ospina are back in the squad and they both travelled to Germany along with Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck, who will be looking for some minutes following his return from a muscular injury.

Several youth players are expected to make the journey also, as the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah will look to impress once more.

The only real injury concern for the hosts will be that they are still going to be without star man, Jonas Hector through an ongoing knee injury, which he picked up when these two last met.