Nelson offers encouragement in defeat in Cologne


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.


  1. Nelson seems to have some nimble feet, and that’s what we might need to undo teams with clustered defenses. Would have preferred Joe Willock in the roaming midfield position, for he seems to have more creativity going forward. Don’t mind watching this second-string team in this tournament, but they need to be more clinical in front of the goal mouth.

  2. Jeorge, do you think Nelson is suited to the wingback position? I suppose any first team action is good for his development but I’m not sure they see are playing him there for development or to try to convert him to this position for the long term. He looked bright when he came on, disappointed that he didn’t start TBH.

  3. Such an uninspiring team selection. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, we suffered our first defeat of the campaign.
    It was a real chance to use Nelson further forward and to use AMN on his more natural side. But instead we get a player like Debuchy, with no future, playing at CB and Chambers used as RWB. We get Coq and Elneny together, when it could have been Coq and Wilshere – giving us more creativity – then Nelson in an attacking role.

    December is manic, the squad will get used. Last night – and the BATE game – represented a real chance to blood kids. He will probably use the West Ham game in the League cup instead – a real chance of an early trophy.

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