Arsene Wenger says he will leave "two or three" players out his Arsenal squad for Thursday's [14 September] Europa League opener against Cologne.

After last season's fifth place finish, the Gunners will begin life in Europe's second competition, hoping to replicate Manchester United's success in the competition in May which guaranteed them a place in this campaign's Champions League.

Arsene Wenger's side were drawn into Group H alongside Cologne, BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade, beginning that campaign at home to the Bundesliga club.

Arsenal travel to Stamford Bridge to take on rivals Chelsea just three days after Thursday's clash at the Emirates with Wenger prepared to rest a handful of players.

"It will be a Premier League team," Wenger told the club's official website on his selection plans.

"Some players will come in of course, because many players played twice for the national team, and then again today. So two or three will not be in the squad, but most of them will play."

Francis Coquelin is set to be ruled out after picking up a hamstring injury in Saturday's comfortable victory over Bournemouth but his absence could open the door for Jack Wilshere. Wilshere is yet to play a game for Arsenal this season after he suffered a hairline fracture to his leg while on loan at Bournemouth.

But asked whether the midfielder could be back for the Thursday's encounter against Cologne, Wenger said: "I don't know yet. He's not far from that."

"I told you in the [pre-match] press conference that he's getting stronger and stronger. The fact that Francis is now out gives him a chance as well."

Coquelin meanwhile join Santi Cazorla as Arsenal's only two players who will be absent through injury.

Cologne will travel to London having endured a rotten start to their new season, losing all three of their games so far, scoring once and conceding seven to leave them bottom of the Bundesliga.

Arsene Wenger
Wenger could ring in changes for Thursday. Getty