Manager Arsene Wenger said Arsenal “had got the job done” by advancing to the Europa League knockout stage as Group H winners despite losing at Cologne.
By SportBrief Reporter
A penalty by Sehrou Guirassy, after Mathieu Debuchy was harshly adjudged to have fouled the French striker, earned Cologne only their second win in 17 Bundesliga and Europa League games this season.
Wenger changed the entire starting XI from the north London derby, forward Danny Welbeck returning from a groin injury after missing the past seven games.
Arsenal’s side, which featured Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere, had only 16 Premier League starts between them this season, and it was a lacklustre performance against the Bundesliga’s bottom club.
The closest the Gunners came to scoring was when Francis Coquelin hit the post when the game was goalless in the first half.
With one match remaining, Arsenal have 10 points from five games, four ahead of Cologne and Red Star Belgrade, who were held to a goalless draw by Bate Borisov.
“You feel you have done the job to finish top of the group,” said Wenger. “We now play our final game at home against Bate Borisov without much at stake, other than the fact that we want to win the game. It’s what we wanted.”
A second successive Europa League win for Cologne means they could qualify for the knockout stage after losing their first three matches.