FC Cologne 1 Arsenal 0
Guirassy 62

Arsenal finished top of their Europa League group H despite going down by a goal to FC Cologne in Germany. Mathieu Debuchy was controversially ruled to have fouled Sehrou Guirassy, the France striker dusted himself down to beat David Ospina from the penalty spot for the only goal of the game. Arsene Wenger made eleven changes from the side which beat Spurs 2-0 in last Saturday’s North London derby. Danny Welbeck returned as did Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere. With Red Star Belgrade and Bate Borisov also playing out a draw, the Gunners finished in pole position to go into the last 32 of the Europa League with Wenger declaring ” job done.”

“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.”

Wilshere held the midfield together, but was unable to provide the spark to set the Gunners firing. Francis Coquelin played a one two with Giroud to shoot but saw his effort clip the post. Wilshere’s second half screamer from 20 yards out deserved a goal, but Timo Horn made the save at the expense of a corner.

Substitute Rhys Nelson showed glimpses of brilliance, and for a 17 year old that is very good news. With Cologne holding firm, not even the introduction of Eddie Nketiah could give Arsenal a leveller as the Bundesliga’s bottom side held out for a rare win, and even rarer clean sheet.

” We had a lot of possession. We lost the game to one shot, basically. It was a very nice penalty that we have to take on board. It was honestly not a penalty at all. We missed a little bit of the accuracy in our passing in the final third that is required to score more goals.

” We had plenty of dangerous situations but we always missed a little something to finish our chances. I must also say that Cologne defended with spirit, with commitment and overall the crowd was absolutely fantastic for them.”

Arsenal had already qualified ahead of the FC Cologne game, but with the other result going in their favour, the Gunners claimed top spot, with the other place being in the grasp of all three of the other sides.

Wenger continued, ” You feel you have done the job to finish top of the group. 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. What does it really mean? I don’t know. It’s what we wanted.”