Seven fit first-team regulars sit out Arsenal training

Arsene Wenger gave some indication as to where the Europa League sits in Arsenal's list of priorities as seven first-team regulars sat out training on Wednesday.

The Gunners welcome Bundesliga outfit Cologne to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow night as the reality of a first season without Champions League football since 1997/98 hits home.

Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka did not train with the matchday squad despite all being match fit.

Arsenal travel to face reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday so a much-changed side was always anticipated.

Alexis Sanchez did train and could be involved as Wenger aims to improve the Chilean's fitness.

Jack Wilshere also took part and may make his first Arsenal appearance in 383 days following last season's loan spell at Bournemouth.

Arsenal have not played in this competition since losing the 2000 UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray but it could be seen as a route back to the Champions League.

Manchester United won the Europa League last season to qualify for the Champions League and, with a battle for a top-four Premier League finish likely to be more competitive than ever, Wenger may eventually be tempted to look at the same path.

More in this Section

Serena Williams: I almost died after giving birth

Antonio Conte backs Chelsea to do 'something incredible' after Barca draw

Bayern Munich thrash 10-man Besiktas to close in on Champions League last eight

Championship wrap: Burton give new Barnsley boss Jose Morais a rude welcome


Today's Stories

Players should not be allowed bet on any GAA game, says Oisín McConville

Cork board opposes CPA motion on recording votes

Players should not be allowed bet on any GAA game, says Oisín McConville

Portrush Golf Club raises concerns over hotel plans

Lifestyle

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner