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Arsenal Taste First Europa League Defeat

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Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the 2017-18 Europa League campaign after going down 1-0 against Cologne in a Group H fixture at the Rhein Energie Stadium on Thursday night.

The Gunners also extended their winless streak on German soil, having lost their last three away games against German opposition.

There was much excitement from Gunners fans before kick-off that their England striker was finally going to get a proper run-out in this Europa League clash with their team already guaranteed progress to the next round.

But it seems that boss Arsene Wenger decided to give both him – and Alex Iwobi who replaced him – just a half of football, with perhaps Sunday’s Premier League clash at Burnley firmly on his mind.

And the striker looked like a player desperate to make next summer’s England squad with a performance – buzzing around the final third throughout to make himself available for every pass.

One strong early run of his saw the Cologne defence back-peddling before they eventually deflected a Ainsley Maitland-Niles cross behind for a corner.

Wilshere – who has only played 25 minutes in the Premier League this season – but been a regular in the Gunners’ teams in the Capital One Cup and Europa League – headed weakly at keeper Tim Horn from another fine Maitand-Niles cross.

Coquelin then forced Horn into another save after exchanging passes with Olivier Giroud.

The came the penalty against the run of play.

But Arsenal were almost back on terms within a matter of minutes when Giroud was played through by a wonderful ball from Wilshere but his scuffed shot was saved by Horn.

Arsenal almost pulled level at the death when sub Reiss Nelson got the better of three defenders before his shot was denied by Horn.

The result means Arsenal stay top of group H with 10 points after five matches while Cologne leapfrog Bate Borisov to go third, level on points with second-place Red Star Belgrade who shared spoils in Belarus.

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Fido

•Sport writer/blogger • Media strategist •Good citizen of Nigeria and Social Media Evangelist and a core die hard Real Madrid fan.

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