After being left out of the match day squad for the North London Derby, Theo Walcott missed out on training for the second straight day today due to illness, a strong indication that he won’t be available for tomorrow’s Europa League match against 1. FC Köln. It’s a tough break for Walcott, who has relied on the Europa League for playing time this season, having made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League so far.
As expected, Arsenal will be taking several of their exciting prospects to Cologne, including Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, and Ainsley Maitlaind-Niles. Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi, Mohamed Elneny, Calum Chambers, and Jack Wilshere will all be traveling, according to Jeorge Bird. Aaron Ramsey, who has not made an appearance in the Europa League and is unlikely to be involved tomorrow, also trained today after a day off yesterday.
Fortunately, the knee injury Olivier Giroud suffered on international duty last week was not too serious, as the Frenchman trained today and will be traveling to Cologne. It will be interesting to see if Giroud starts, or if Arsene Wenger will be cautious and keep him on the bench. Perhaps Nketiah could make his first ever start up front?