14 Sep, 11:00
Arsenal are set to start their Europa League campaign against FC Cologne on Thursday night and boss Arsene Wenger is expected to mix experienced players and youngsters who performed well during pre-season.
We take a look at some of players who could impress tonight if featured:
Nelson is a dynamic and driving winger whose dazzling dribbling will win the hearts of pretty much anyone who watches him. One can only hope that Arsene Wenger uses the Europa League as a proving ground for the youngster, giving him plenty of minutes to show his skill.
Holding has been something of a revelation since joining Arsenal from Bolton, until he then wasn’t. Wenger seemed to have incredible confidence in him, until he didn’t – dropping him bizarrely after the opening day win over Leicester Holding has incredible potential and with regular starts in Europe he could really strut his stuff.
Whilst on loan at Middlesbrough, Calum Chambers proved that he is an exceptional defensive talent. Something that had been forgotten since he originally burst onto the scene with Arsenal back in 2014. He’s currently sat in the Arsenal squad not playing much, even though the Gunners could have really used him in their back three. Well the Europa League could be his platform to play, given that Wenger will want to rest his main stars for the Premier League.
This young defensive midfielder has been playing centre-back of late in the youth teams, but he’s at his best in the middle of the park. That experience at the back has helped improve his defensive ability, however. McGuane is in many ways a prototypical Arsenal youngster; excellent on the ball and very composed and calm when pressed. He could see some minutes in the Europa League and use them to state his case as a talent for consideration in the first team picture next season.
The man with the impossible skill-set. Maitland-Niles is a central midfielder by trade but he is so good that he’s actually been used just about everywhere. Wing-back, centre-back, attacking midfield, he’s an all-pitch kind of talent and whilst that’s useful for getting minutes it is stifling his development.
What Maitland-Niles needs most is to nail down one position and perfect it (lest he become the new Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain); and the Europa League could provide that idea opportunity as Wenger may look to play a settled “reserve” side like he used to do in the League Cup.
Broke through at the start of 2016 and looked like a supreme wing-forward and the next young Gunners superstar. But by the end of the year he had lost his place in the side and just looked, frankly, tired. But now as we enter the second half of 2017, an opportunity has presented itself for him to get consistent minutes up-front as one of the focal points of the side.
Iwobi is a supreme dribbler and packs an impressive finish, and if he is given plenty of minutes in the competition then he could find his way back into contention for the first-team by the time 2018 rolls around.