Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey have already been officially ruled out of Arsenal‘s Europa League clash with FC Koln. But now it appears the two midfielders will be joined by a handful of first-team regulars who manager Arsene Wenger will reportedly rest during Thursday’s tie at the Emirates Stadium.
As he looks ahead to this weekend’s vital Premier League tilt with Chelsea, Wenger will rest a total of seven of his stars against the German side, with Alexandre Lacazette, Petr Cech,, Danny Welbeck, and Granit Xhaka expected to miss out on the first European match of the season, according to Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph.
Defender Laurent Koscielny will be absent through suspension after picking up a red card during a loss to Bayern Munich last season.
Yet, Arsenal supporters in attendance are expected to get a chance to see Alexis Sanchez make his first start of the season as Wenger attempts to boost the Chilean’s match fitness by giving him significant minutes.
For Giroud, Thursday will be an opportunity to reach a personal milestone, as he sits just one off the 100-goal mark in an Arsenal top. It’s an opportunity that may not have been possible following a summer when he admitted that he was close to moving on after seeing limited opportunities last season.
“Actually, that was a very private decision,” Giroud told reporters, “because it’s true that I was close to leaving the club because I said that I wanted to play.
“But after a big reflection with everybody around me, like my family and my close friends in a supportive way, I wanted to stay at the Arsenal and I thought the story was not over, it was not finished at Arsenal.”
Meanwhile, Ozil and Ramsey were officially ruled out of the Europa League encounter due to their participation for their respective national teams during World Cup qualifiers earlier this month, according to Wenger.