Jack Wilshere to start for Arsenal as Wenger reveals squad to face Cologne tonight

Jack Wilshere to start for Arsenal as Wenger reveals squad to face Cologne tonight

Arsene Wenger will rest a host of first-team players when Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign at home to Cologne on Thursday night with Wilshere given the nod to make his comeback.

It will be his first competitive game since breaking a leg in April playing for Bournemouth against Spurs. And this will be his first Gunners appearance for 13 months.

Wilshere, who is likely to be on the bench tonight,  was handed a red card for Arsenal’s Under-23s last month after reacting to a late tackle from Manchester City’s Matt Smith.

Wenger said: “There was always a huge pressure on him to come back as quickly as possible and to expect a lot.

“If he can combine the two, keep calm and focus on the job, he is on a good way. If he is injury-free, he will come back to his best.

“In training, he is getting stronger. He has been injured at the start of the season so he was a bit behind the others.

“Every game is an opportunity for him and this season is a good opportunity. I didn’t talk to him at all after the red card because I was not at the game and I could understand his reaction.

Wenger said: “On the injury front we have no big problems, a few players have had some response to playing two international games like Ozil and (Aaron) Ramsey, so they are rested completely. But overall the injury situation.

“Coquelin is out. As I said in the last press conference he is out for three weeks.”

Provisional squad: Ospina, Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Monreal, Pleguezuelo, Mustafi, Bellerin, Nelson, Kolasinac, Wilshere, Willock, Elneny, McGuane, Giroud, Walcott, Iwobi, Sanchez, Nketiah.

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