Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to rest up to seven first team players for the Europa League opener against FC Cologne in preparation for the Premier League trip to Chelsea this weekend. The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette were among seven players who started the 3-0 win over Bournemouth to miss training ahead of the game and are not expected to feature.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech, defender Laurent Koscielny, midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Granti Xhaka, as well as goalscorer Danny Welbeck also sat out the session. David Ospina, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere are meanwhile all likely to deputise and make their first competitive starts of the 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 international break in October. Youngsters Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock are in line for their senior debuts.
"On the injury front, we have no big problems," Wenger told reporters, according to The Mirror. "There are a few players who have some response to the fact they played two international games - like Ozil and Ramsey. They are rested completely. But overall the injury situation is not too bad. Coquelin is out for three weeks."
Wilshere could make his first Arsenal appearance for 13 months should he feature against Bundesliga side Cologne, having spent last term on loan at Bournemouth. His spell at the Vitality Stadium ended prematurely due to a broken leg which hindered his preparations for the new season but his Gunners return could be imminent.
The England midfielder was linked with a move away from The Emirates Stadium last summer, with Turkish club Trabzonspor revealing this week they held talks with Wilshere over a loan move. Discussions eventually broke down leading to Wilshere staying and Wenger says he can revitalise his career at Arsenal.
"First of all, he has to continue to work with the spirit that he works and focuses," explained the French boss. "I believe there was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quick as possible. If he can keep calm and focus on his job then he is on a good way.
"In training he is getting stronger and stronger every day, that's what we want from him. He was injured so was a bit behind the other players, but now he is getting better and better. Every game is an opportunity for him and this season is a good opportunity for him."
Though the visit of Cologne is the next challenging facing Wenger and Arsenal, the trip to Chelsea on Sunday [17 September] looms large.
Antonio Conte's side warmed up for the game by demolishing Qarabag in the Champions League and with two fewer days to rest and the unfamiliar dynamic of playing matches on Thursday and Sunday to cope with, Wenger says the clash with the Premier League champions is a major test.
"It's a good opportunity to show we can do it [play Thursday/Sunday]," added Wenger. "We played on Wednesday night at Barcelona and then Saturday morning at Everton and we won. You have to not get caught in your mind with preconceived ideas. Football is down to performance on the day. In three days you can recover."