Arsenal’s final away group game in this season’s Europa League didn’t exactly go to plan, with Arsene Wenger’s side producing an uninspiring performance against Cologne and losing 1-0 courtesy of a contentious penalty, which was converted by Sehrou Guirassy.
Once again many of the club’s fringe players seemed uncomfortable in a 3-4-2-1 system, while the midfield pairing of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny was severely lacking with regards to creativity.
There were some positives to take from proceedings, however, in the performances of some of Arsenal’s younger players.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has found matters tough at left wing-back at times this season but he looked at ease in that position tonight as he produced a composed display and demonstrated his excellent technique, even though his crosses lacked conviction.
Reiss Nelson had started all four of Arsenal’s previous Europa League games this campaign and was involved as a substitute on this occasion.
The England U19 international was again deployed as a right wing-back and came close to scoring his first senior goal after weaving his way past several Cologne players.
Eddie Nketiah also featured as a substitute, whilst Matt Macey, Ben Sheaf, Joe Willock and Chuba Akpom were all unused on the bench.