Wenger will not use Arsenal´s Europa League match as Chelsea excuse

Seven key Arsenal players to be rested for Europa League tie with Koln

Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League is still the best route for Arsenal to return to the Champions League fold next season.

Francis Coquelin will not be involved however after suffering a hamstring injury during his cameo appearance against the Cherries, with the Frenchman ruled out for three weeks which is likely to see him side-lined until the worldwide break in October.

Arsenal are in desperate need of a result after a poor start to the season and a bad record overall against their title rivals in recent years. "There are a few players who have some response to the fact they played two worldwide games - like Ozil and Ramsey". Trust me we've got a very good team on paper tomorrow.

He said: "The season before was not a good one for them [Chelsea]".

The two teams have never met in a competitive match although the Gunners did win a pre-season meeting five years ago and punters may use their free bet to back Wenger's men to secure another victory on Thursday.

"There was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quickly as possible and to expect a lot".

"Coquelin is out for three weeks".

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"I think the best way to do it is through the Premier League", Wenger said before Arsenal host Cologne in their Europa League opener on Thursday.

Wilshere is expected to start against Koln with up to seven first-team players rested.

"In training he (Wilshere) is getting stronger, that's what we want".

Wenger has confirmed that playmaker Mesut Ozil and midfielder Aaron Ramsey will not play, citing residual fatigue from last week's worldwide matches.

"We will take it seriously but the priority is to focus on the Premier League and combining the two", said Wenger.

According to The Independent, the players were excused from training on Wednesday morning as they will not be involved on Thursday. It is a preconceived idea, football is down to how you perform on the day. We have the unfavourable timing of Thursday night's Europa League group stage tie coming up this week, only three days before our trip to Stamford Bridge, and we can not afford to get distracted from that.

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