Reasons to watch UEFA Europa Cup: Arsenal vs FC Koln

Sep 14, 2017, 10:46 IST | A Correspondent

FC Koln is all set to take on Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League, marking their return to a major European competition for the first time in 25 years

Arsenal players. Pic/AFP
Arsenal players. Pic/AFP

FC Koln is all set to take on Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League, marking their return to a major European competition for the first time in 25 years.

The Gunners will be making their debut in the Europa League in its current format. The last time they were in the UEFA Cup was in 2000 when they reached the final.

1. Arsenals record against German teams:
This will be Arsenal’s first foray into the Europa League and their first ever meeting with Koln as well. In their last European home fixture, Bayern Munich smashed the Gunners 5-1 in the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen last season. So they will want to bury those demons that’s for sure.

2. Arsenal Dominance
Arsenal have plenty of experience against Bundesliga sides and their record from 36 games against German opponents reads W16 D6 L14 (W11 D1 L6 at home). However, their current home form against German sides is not great as they have lost five of their last seven on home soil against German visitors. Gunners will look forward to maintain their good record when they face FC Koln

3. FC Koln road to UEFA Champions League:
Koln finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season making a good run from nowhere. But things haven’t been so great for them this time around in the German top flight as they have lost all three of their games so far, scoring just the one goal and conceding seven. So they aren’t a huge threat right at this moment. This is the first time in 20 years that they have been in European action, The Germans have lost just one of their last five European away games in a W3 D1 L1 record, but all of the games in that sequence were played back in the 1990s. Their only previous group stage campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

4. FC Koln record against English clubs
Koln’s record in 12 encounters with English clubs is W2 D4 L6 (D2 L3 in England). In one of their campaigns, they beat Spurs 8-0, something that Arsenal fans would have enjoyed.

Interesting Match Stats:
> Arsenal and FC Koln are meeting for the first time in a UEFA competition.
> rsenal’s record in 36 games against Bundesliga sides is W16 D6 L14 (W11 D1 L6 at home). They have lost five of their last seven home matches against German teams.
> Koln’s record in 12 encounters with English clubs is W2 D4 L6 (D2 L3 in England)
> Koln have lost only one of their last five European away games (W3 D1 L1). All those games, however, were played in the 1990s.
> Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last appearance in this competition was the 2000 UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Galatasaray
> Runners-up in the two-legged 1986 UEFA Cup final, Koln are back in Europe for the first time in 20 years; their only previous group stage campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Key players to look out for:
1. Jhon Cordoba – FC Koln
Jhon Cordoba has struggled a bit this season. Brought in to replace Anthony Modeste the Colombian striker has thus far failed to hit the target. A club record signing Köln paid €17 million to Mainz for the services of the 24-year-old striker. Labelled the Colombian Didier Drogba Córdoba is a very different striker from the recently departed Modeste. Equipped with a big and powerful body Cordoba is a bit of a holdup striker rather than the quick in-between the lines striker that Modeste was for Koln. Cordoba will look forward to make his mark in the Champions league and become a top striker in the Bundesliga

2. Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
Mesut Ozil is always in the focus when Arsenal play a German side. The German national team player is one of the biggest stars of the North London based club. Unfortunately, though he has also been the centre of criticism. Critiques believe that his body language is too passive and that he switches off during big games. It is a perfect time and platform for Ozil to show that he can be a leader both on and off the pitch.

3. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
The Chilean, who was strongly linked with a move to rivals Manchester City during the summer transfer window is currently out of form due to injuries. He is expected to join the playing eleven against the FC Koln and will be hoping for a better performance to woo his fans back.

4. Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal
Alexandre Lacazette is the most expensive signing in history of Arsenal. With the quality he possesses, the Frenchman expected to significantly bolster Arsenal’s attacking options ahead of the new season. Lacazette can be the main man to bring home the major trophy since the last major trophy they won was Premier league title in 2003-2004 season.

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