Welbeck's return pleases Wenger

23 November 2017 05:23:05 EST

Arsene Wenger has suggested that Danny Welbeck will return to the Arsenal starting line-up for Thursday's Europa League clash at Cologne.

The 26-year-old has struggled with injuries following his transfer from Manchester United in the summer of 2014 and has only featured in six Premier League matches for the Gunners so far this term.

Arsenal have already booked their place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League, which they are 12121/1 to win this season.

"I have a long experience and I have known players who have won the World Cup who in November had no chance to go," said Wenger.

"Danny has the potential to go. If he is fit, he will go, I am convinced of that. It is a big year for him but I want it to be a big year for him for Arsenal.

"I believe he is a top-class striker and on top that he is loved by everybody in the squad. We are all very happy he is back because he has gone through very difficult periods in these last three years."

Meanwhile, Per Mertesacker is keen to build on Saturday's impressive display in the 2-0 victory against north London rivals Tottenham,

The 33-year-old German said: "Saturday was a brilliant example of us bringing it all - fans and players together.

"The intensity was great and it is human on those occasions we give 20 per cent more. But we want to reproduce that, especially against Cologne."

Theo Walcott has not travelled to Germany because of illness but goalkeeper David Ospina is set to return to the starting line-up.

Arsenal are 9/4 to keep a clean sheet against Cologne and 8/1 to win the match 1-0 with Welbeck 2/1 to score at any time against the Bundesliga strugglers.

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