Michael Owen states his prediction for Arsenal v Cologne
Michael Owen looks ahead to Arsenal's Europa League clash with FC Cologne on Thursday night
Michael Owen is tipping Olivier Giroud to fire Arsenal to victory in their Europa League opener against Cologne on Thursday night.
The Gunners have had to settle for Europa League football this season after they ended up in fifth place in the Premier League last term.
It marked the first time in many years that the north London side have missed out on Champions League qualification as they now have to compete in Europe’s second tier club competition.
Arsenal get their group stage campaign under way with a home clash against German side Cologne on Thursday night, and Owen is tipping both Alexis Sanchez and Giroud to make the starting line-up.
Writing in his column for BetVictor, Owen said: “This is Arsenal’s first European game outside of the Champions League since the 2000 Europa League Final when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray.
“FC Koln’s last win against English opposition in a competitive tie was over 40 years ago and I expect the wait to continue although it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsene Wenger shuffled his pack with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud set for a recall.”
Arsenal head into the game having returned to winning ways in the Premier League by beating Bournemouth 3-0 at The Emirates last weekend.
The Gunners have suffered a testing start to the new season, with Wenger’s men having lost two of their opening four Premier League fixtures so far.
Arsenal will gear up for a stern test of their Premier League title credentials on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Stamford Bridge to take on defending champions Chelsea in west London.