In Summary
  • Arsene Wenger's men, fifth in the Premier League last season — their first finish outside the top four since 1995-96 — take on German side Cologne on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium in London.
  • The Arsenal boss said his team would take the competition seriously despite the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League after 19 consecutive seasons in Europe's premier competition.

LONDON

Premier League giants Arsenal make their Europa League bow this week, slipping into the continent's second-string competition after nearly two decades in the Champions League, with AC Milan also injecting star quality.

Arsene Wenger's men, fifth in the Premier League last season — their first finish outside the top four since 1995-96 — take on German side Cologne on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium in London.

The Arsenal boss said his team would take the competition seriously despite the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League after 19 consecutive seasons in Europe's premier competition.

"We will take it seriously but the priority is to focus on the Premier League and combining the two," he said in comments reported by Britain's Daily Telegraph.

"Then, in December, we will see, but at least we want to qualify for the next round. Thursday to Sunday morning is short so I have to think about that. But we have to win at home and you know how it is when you don't win at home."

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