Arsene Wenger says there is no squad hierarchy after wholesale changes in Europa League

The Gunners boss believes there is enough quality in his squad to challenge in all competitions this season.

Arsene Wenger says there is no squad hierarchy after wholesale changes in Europa League
Photo: Catherine Ivill - AMA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said there is no hierarchy in his Arsenal squad, after his side with nine changes defeated FC Koln 3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday.

Changes lead to same result

Only defenders Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin kept their places from last Saturday’s victory over Bournemouth, and those that came into the team initially struggled before showing their superiority. 

"We want to do well in all the best competitions and I had an experienced team today, even though I made nine changes,” Wenger said after the game.

“They are all top-class players. There is no hierarchy in the squad.”

Alexis Sanchez made his second start for the gunners this season in the Europa League opener, and the Chilean marked it by scoring a stunning goal to give his side a 2-1 lead. Despite being extremely influential, Wenger still believes the best is still to come from Sanchez.

"I think Sanchez is still running after his best form. He is a fantastic football player but physically he has just come back.

“But he has it in his locker to do something special, which he did.”

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Unsavoury scenes

Unfortunately, the gloss on the victory was damaged by the crowd trouble inside and outside the Emirates stadium before kick-off, and the Arsenal boss had his say on the events.

“Look, I’ve followed German football for a long time and I thought Cologne had not played in Europe for 25 years. On the first night they go out, they spoil their night. I couldn’t understand that.

“Were the problems created by people who had no tickets? I don’t know. But certainly they had more people here than tickets so that was certainly the cause."

The boss also spoke about whether the delayed kick-off affected his team’s opening half.

“It’s difficult to say. It was similar for Cologne but we had some problems to get off, to start, yes.

“I don’t know, was it mental? Was it the fact that they scored the goal and we didn’t know how to deal with? But our game was a bit too slow.”

Arsenal’s next appearance in the Europa League comes in two weeks time, as they travel to Belarus to face Bate Borisov.