Theo Starts - Arsenal's Probable 3-4-2-1 Starting XI Koln

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Arsenal have not begun a season outside the Champions League since 1997 and now face the Thursday-Sunday pattern of games which other managers have bemoaned in the past.

Arsenal have made a poor start to the campaign, losing twice in their opening four league games.

On Thursday night, at the unusual and unfamiliar time of 8:05 p.m. BST, Arsenal's demotion on the European stage will become reality when they kick off their opening game of the Europa League group stage at home to FC Koln. "He was injured so was a bit behind, but now he is getting better".

Arsenal's previous appearance in this competition, when it was known as the Uefa Cup, was against Galatasaray in the 2000 final with the Turkish side winning 4-1 on penalties.

"Coquelin is out for three weeks".

FC Koln do not appear a huge threat on paper, but players can often be lifted by a big occasion and against a side who are expected to win, and we mustn't get complacent.

'This is a challenge but in the Bundesliga we have played against teams with similar qualities as Arsenal'.

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And ahead of the visit of Cologne, Iwobi stated that he is set to return to action for the Gunners.

Despite injuries, form and competition for places all playing a role in denting that 2012 vision of the future, it wasn't until this summer when that group was finally broken up for good.

"It is not the best chance but one of the opportunities", he said.

The competition could, possibly, also provide the Gunners with an alternative route into next season's Champions League, an opportunity that Manchester United took up with aplomb last term. "It's true I was close to leaving because I wanted to play", Giroud said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

That does not necessarily mean it will be a team of inexperienced youngsters as Jack Wilshere could make a long-awaited comeback while Alexis Sanchez may feature as he strives for match sharpness.

For all Arsenal's struggles to make an impact on the Champions League in recent years, they will still miss not being a part of it this season.