We welcome the Billy Goats for our 1st Europa League game

This season we play Thursday night football in the Europa League and our first game is home to Fußball-Club Köln also known as FC Köln or FC Cologne in English. They play in the Bundesliga, the highest league of German football and were Champions in 1962/3, 1963/4 and 1977/8. The club’s nickname Die Geißböcke (“The Billy Goats”) refers to the club’s mascot, a male goat named after the veteran FC player and former manager Hennes Weisweiler. The first mascot goat was donated by a circus entrepreneur as a Cologne carnival joke.

The competition has gone through several changes and was previously known as the Fairs Cup then the UEFA Cup and now the UEFA Europa League.

Below is a comparison of both teams’ records in these competitions.

FC Köln – P98, W52, D16, L30, GF184, GA105, Win% 53.6

Arsenal –   P49, W24, D9, L16, GF91, GA51, Win% 48.98

Arsenal have won 2 European competitions the 1970 Inter City Fairs Cup and the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup.

As far as I could find we have only played FC Koln once before – in the 1971 Fairs Cup when we won 2-1 at home and lost 0-1 away.

My team (Oh dear where is Big Raddy).

An under par Arsenal lost to Liverpool 4-0 in our 3rd Pl game and then we dominated against an under par Bournemouth to win 3-0.  The boost in confidence we gained from the victory over Bournemouth should be used as a springboard and a reminder of how well we can play.

This competition is very winnable and to start with a home game is a positive; if the crowd get behind the team then I predict (always confident) that today we will have a comfortable 3-0 victory over FC Koln.

Written by GunnerN5


132 Responses to We welcome the Billy Goats for our 1st Europa League game

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.

    It seems weird playing on a spursday night, but I suppose I’ll get used to it.
    Cologne are attractive opposition at least.
    I believe from yesterday’s team news that Rambo and Mesut are rested completely for tonight, so maybe we get to see Iwobi at number 10. 🙂

    Apart from the poor scousers, the English clubs did really well in the CL, too, which was a shame.
    Still, the Ox got on as an 89th minute sub, so at least he can’t be blamed.
    Coutinho was given a rousing welcome by Anfield – no wanky booing from them.
    Apparently Sevilla scored with their only two shots on target. That’s football.

  2. mickydidit89 says:


    Please excuse not tucking straight in, but late night and slow out of the traps this morning. Back onto footie soon

    Like best cat ever perhaps 🙂

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok GN5,

    First up many thanks. I really like the way you deploy the historical context to these PM. V interesting.

    On team selection, quite apart from the fun of seeing new young guns getting game time, I’d like to see our weak points from the First XI protected. Weak points being the positions where I feel the cover is thin

    These I see as DM, and the roles of Bellerin and Mesut.

    I reckon we’ll see Maitland-Niles and Iwobi. I’d also like to see Jack and Nelson.

  4. mickydidit89 says:


    Thinking ahead to more important matters, the evening pack-up.

    Does it differ from the lunchtime affair. Canopes and cocktails?

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    copy paste

    The game will be televised live in the UK on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD, with coverage starting at 20.00 BST

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    From same article in the Standard

    Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Laurent Koscielny, Granit Xhaka, Petr Cech and Danny Welbeck all sat out the part-open session at the club’s London Colney training base

    Predicted Arsenal XI: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Mustafi, Walcott, Wilshere, Elneny, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Sanchez, Giroud

  7. mickydidit89 says:

    So if they are right, Theo will fill the Ox boots who filled the Bell boots at RWB

  8. chas mobile says:

    Might be more chilli and mustard to keep out the lower autumnal temperatures.
    Cocktails in the form of lager and cider or Guinness and cider mixed.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Very well thought through pack-up and the cocktail of kings

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    How do you get a vid on twitter onto here

  11. chas mobile says:

    Copy the link to the tweet.
    Top right for each tweet there’s a drop down menu if you click on the downward facing chevron.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Olympic skier Andri Ragettli training

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    So the fruitcake can do this

  14. chas mobile says:


  15. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5, I anticipate a good performance and a comfortable win.

    I really want to see Jack given one more chance to force his way into the team. I’d also like to see at least one of the emerging talent given some time on the pitch. Our first team could do with some competition for places.

  16. LB says:

    The black cat has the better moves.

  17. mickydidit89 says:

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha and now you can learn what a terrorist is 🙂 🙂

    Promise t stay on track now I know how to post shit. Will keep it off here though. Thanks Chas, will come in very handy elsewhere

  19. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5. Will be brief as a bit tight for time. I am liking you and Raddy combining and swapping for the lead up to games.

    I like the team although I would be tempted to play Jack in Ozil’s position with him and Sanchez behind Ollie and get someone else (maybe Elneny) alongside Xhaka.

    So much uncertainty with Jack on his best role or whether he can even make it at all but I feel he operates really well in tight spaces around the box and was showing an eye for goal with us before he had that injury and then went on loan to Bournemouth. Would be worth a try with Ozil seemingly leaving us.

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Howdee GB

    Really looking forward to tonight as it could be very exciting to see fresh blood.

    Re Jack. My money says Arsene deploys him as sweeper 🙄

  21. chas says:

  22. chas says:

  23. chas says:

    According to this type of analysis, the spuddies were a little fortunate to get such a good result against Dortmund.
    That’s football, I suppose, take your chances when they come.

  24. chas says:

    Hey, this is much better than that Champions League shite. 🙂

  25. chas says:

    Just like The Emirates Stadium will be tonight………….

  26. Rasp says:

    I’d need my nuts in a vice to sing that poxy Champion’s League anthem … it had a typically german flavour to it

  27. GoonerB says:

    Micky, sweeper yes, mmm, I concur with your emoji if that happens.

  28. Rasp says:

    Chas … do you know if LBG managed to place his spare ticket?

  29. chas says:

    I was under the misconception (it would seem) that you were having it.
    I’ll check.

  30. Rasp says:

    I can take it if still available chas …. earlier I had thought not

  31. chas says:

    Maybe you should communicate directly with him.

  32. LB says:


    Holding, BFG, Kolasinac

    Elneny, Wilshere, Iwobi,MN

    Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez

    Wow, that is a hard one to predict, gotta have a go though.

  33. Rasp says:

    I am …. he hadn’t responded … has now!

  34. LB says:


    Holding, BFG, Kolasinac

    Debuchy, Elneny, Wilshere,


    Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez

    I suppose if I guess enough one might be right.

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    Just listened to the Eurorail Anthem racket
    How uncatchy and unimaginative
    Sounds like the intro to some west end weepy stage show for girls and certain gentlemen

  36. Eddie says:

    Oh ffs micky, now we are going to moan about the flipping anthem?
    you must live a boring life boy

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    Always happy to moan about something else, Eddie

    Where shall we start?

  38. Eddie says:

    How are your ceilings?

    Q for you – 5 patients are waiting for a done. The done turns up at the hospital. The doctor can treat him and 5 patients die or he let’s him die and saves 5 others. You are the doctor, what do you do?

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Ceilings? Mmmm, you know I’ve never given them a moments thought. Dunno really, I think they’re fine.

    I’d save the best looking women. Simple. Next

  40. Eddie says:

    They are all men you perv

  41. GoonerB says:

    Bit deep Eddie, but I think it is a moot point anyway because I think it is against the Hippocratic oath to refuse treatment to someone that could be saved, regardless of any secondary consequences. Refuse his treatment > get struck off > others dying in the future because he is not around to save them…….feel a bit depressed now….any vids of fluffy kittens to cheer me up 🙂

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Is the doctor a woman?

  43. mickydidit89 says:


    Team to play Cologne: Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin, Iwobi, Elneny, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez

    Subs: Macey, Wilshere, Mustafi, Reine-Adelaide, Kolasinac, Akpom, Nelson

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    Crowd congestion. Eh?

  45. Rasp says:

    There has been a police helicopter circling over the ground since 6:45 …. stories of Cologne fans storming the turnstiles …. our feeling is that the game will be abandoned

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    According to Sky, the players are warming up

  47. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky …. I think there is a lot of ‘fake news’ being disseminated … we read one story that Cologne fans had stormed a turnstile and got into the ground. There is no way they would have gone through the body searches in the lead up to the ground …. I think there is a good chance the game will be abandoned

  48. Rasp says:

    We have a friend inside the ground who is reporting many Cologne fans in the home seats …. too many for the stewards to eject …. apparently they are trying to climb over the barriers to join the away fans … but obviously they won’t have seats …. so again, the game can’t go ahead

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    On SKY
    As of 8.30pm Arsenal say the game is going ahead but that is subject to review.

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas sits above the away lot
    Perhaps he could lean over the edge and say something to a fat one 🙂

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Just going online to buy a jumper. Back in a mo

  52. Rasp says:

    I’m hearing that it is pure anarchy … the stewards can’t cope …. I think Arsenal are treading carefully so as not to inflame the situation …. my guess is the game will not go ahead. A lot of Cologne fans have forced entry without being searched and are singing in the east stand

  53. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well a rest before Sunday may be just what the doctor ordered.

    If I had a ticket for tonight I probably would have had to give up by now as I’d spend the first 45 minutes working out what the latest time I could leave the ground in the second half to catch my train.

    The congestion post match is going to be horrendous unless they manage to get the rail companies to hold last trains or add services ….. not going to happen.

    They are better off doing what another team did a few weeks back

    Announce game abandoned, lock all turnstiles wait for crowd to disperse and then kick off behind closed doors.

    And a massive fine to Cologne. Or just award us the win and abandon the game. Morons won’t do it again!

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    Didn’t Boris Johnson buy some expensive water canons when Mayor?

    Now’s a perfect opportunity to dust them off. Squirt Jerry I say.

    I want my football.

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Sky again


    If anything, the incidents have definitely increased the atmosphere inside the Emirates. Things are settling down and there is little sign of trouble, however, as both teams get on with their training on the pitch.

    Still on for a 9.05pm kick off

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I agree Cologne are the most culpable … they must have had some knowledge that 20,000 fans were travelling for 3,000 seats. We’ve given up and come home.

  57. Gööner In Exile says:

    In other news drove past David Gold in Norfolk yesterday, if only that had been Transfer Deadline Day could have created some spurious rumour about West Ham signing a player from Kings Lynn FC.

    Ridiculous Burgundy (Not claret) and silver Rolls Royce with licence plate D 6OLD….knob

  58. Rasp says:

    Apparently they bought red membership and Arsenal scarves and gained entry that way … the same as Dortmund in the past

  59. Rasp says:

  60. Gööner In Exile says:

    Dortmund fans have been doing that for CL games in past, I spoke to a couple who did it. I asked if that wasn’t a bit expensive, they explained that a Dortmund ST cost less than €500 to sit on half way line and they didn’t have to pay for public transport on matchdays if they had football ticket. So the expense was more than a home game but not going to break their football budget for season.

    Rasp I don’t see how anyone at Arsenal or Met Police could have handled situation any different. Cologne couldn’t stop fans from travelling either, but fans that cause trouble, racist chant etc etc should see their team’s prospects suffer rather than monetary fines. It may have more of an effect.

    Detain all Cologne fans without a ticket, not possible. Stop Cologne fans getting public transport to Arsenal/Finsbury Park, again in rush hour that’s not going to happen.

    Hold them up at Finsbury Park, Avenell Road, Angel, Holloway there was never going no to be an easy solution.

    The only real solution if the Club had been allowed to put up a screen outside the ground, but we all know the ground was limited to 60,000 due to transport congestion.

    Only possible solution is stopping new rmemberships without UK address.

    Was this a ST game? I guess if so Ticket Exchange would have had quite a few on.

    Reckon if any Cologne fan has touts membership card (ie not Ticket Exchange) then that Gold card should be cancelled.

  61. Rasp says:

    I agree GiE, I’m not blaming Arsenal in any way

  62. Rasp says:

    ….. I think we’re handling the situation pretty well

  63. mickydidit89 says:


    Shouldn’t that read Bordeaux (not claret) 🙂

    Knob, certainly

  64. Rasp says:

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    Hooray, game on

    Come on you Gunnnnners

  66. Rasp says:

    I guess the risk assessment dictated that it’s better to play than deal with 10,000 drunk and angry Cologne fans

  67. Rasp says:

    Ospina should have put that into row Z

  68. fatgingergooner says:

    Don’t mind us being rusty, but something very disorganised about this team which I don’t like. So easy to get that long ball into their striker.

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    We are showing no composure. Very unlike Arsenal. Everything looks panicked.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    It would appear our plan is to get Rob Holding in space and hope he can play a killer pass or dribble through their side like Messi!

  71. Rasp says:

    The media reports so far are generalising about the return of football hooliganism and ignoring the fact that it is all emanating from the Cologne fans …. I have no doubt some of our supporters will get into scuffles with them after the game …. but that is purely reactionary

  72. Rasp says:

    P.S. has anyone seen our midfield?

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Apart from the goal, I enjoyed that

    Hardly surprising the side doesn’t quite fire as a unit. Am I right in thinking we lose a bit of shape with Sanchez in that he pops up everywhere? Good to see him trying hard, but nevertheless

  74. Rasp says:

    We need a goal early in the second half …. obvs 🙄

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Prefer two in extra time Rasp 🙂

  76. LB says:

    Forgot my glasses and had to go to the ‘lower’ people are singing stand up if you won the war! It’s very different down here.

  77. Rasp says:

    If we don’t improve, I’d take Walcott off, move Iwobi wide right and bring Jack on centrally

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    good plan

  79. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ok few observations :

    1) noise clearly doesn’t evaporate from the Emirates.
    2) sometimes ball in row Z is better than trying to keep the ball in play
    3) does no one want to play centre midfield? (More on that below).
    4) this is Jacks Everton game (replacing Denilson after 20 minutes) chance to be resurrected.

    Ok so on 3.

    I lost count of the times as we were trying to go upfield that there was simply no red shirt between a bank of 4/5 Cologne players and our back 4, most red shirts in their half of the pitch had formed a lovely square (down the flanks and across their back line) that meant when ball did go inside and was easily mopped up because there were 5 Cologne players and 0 Red shirts they could break easily.

    You’ve got Alexis and Naitland-Miles or is it Maitland-Niles on left wing, Theo and Hector standing next to each other on right wing, Iwobi going whichever wing is closer to the ball and Giroud about the only player in a position you could say he should be. Elneny being left as the solitary centre midfielder getting closer and closer to their back line because with everyone else out on flanks he figures he needs to at least offer another body somewhere vaguely useful.

    There were times I was thinking we only had ten on the pitch our shape was so stretched.

    I’m still trying to work out formation.

    I’m guessing 3-4-3 but it ain’t working with Iwobi and Alexis out there

    So back to point 4, Theo off, Jack on, Alexis up top with Ollie, Iwobi can roam left and right depending on wing we are attacking on, Hector and Naitland-Miles canprovide width if we are attacking that flank. Elneny holding, Jack driving and doing the Santi role.

  80. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasp in two short sentences at 9:56 and 10:03 says what it takes me two chapters to say 🙂

  81. Gööner In Exile says:

    So Arsene knows better than me.

  82. fatgingergooner says:

    That’s how you hit a ball! Saeeeeeeeed!!!!

  83. fred1266 says:

    Did holding play that bad to be taken off at half time

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    As much about changing shape as his performance Fred.

    But you either take Maitland-Niles off (harsh) or Holding to get to the 4-3-3 formation.

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    A M-N in the middle is a different player. Has the pace to recover and get back in and is disciplined aswell. Exactly what we miss.

  86. fatgingergooner says:

    Holding gave the ball away a lot but that’s because he has Walcott and Bellerin on his side who run away and expect a 40 yard wonder pass!

  87. fatgingergooner says:

    We are missing the Ox…..said nobody ever! 😂

  88. mickydidit89 says:

    Wow just wow

  89. Rasp says:

    Unbelievable goal …. oo are ya! Oo are ya

  90. fatgingergooner says:

    Do we carry on with this 3 at the back? Not done much for us this season.

  91. Gööner In Exile says:

    Tony Woodcock!!! Bloody hell top barnet!

  92. fatgingergooner says:

    Loving the Wilshere cheers

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    Good job by Arsene at half time, for sure

  94. fatgingergooner says:

    A few more players built like Kolasinac would be good. We miss a bit of that in our squad.

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    Really like Elneny

  96. fatgingergooner says:

    Elneny had a good second half.

  97. mickydidit89 says:


  98. fatgingergooner says:

    Wilshere just so calm and assured. With the calmness and maturity that age brings to your game he could still be a hell of a player for us.

    I just hope he stays fit.

  99. fatgingergooner says:

    Sanchez is crackers. I’ve never seen a player moaning with 15 seconds left in a game they are winning 3-1 because he hasn’t been given the ball! He’s absolutely addicted to the game and you can see he hates that he’s not going to be playing in front of a crowd for another 3 days. Mental.

    Fantastic second half. Awful first half! Need to improve at the weekend.

  100. Rasp says:

    Yes top marks to Arsene for the subs. Ospina makes me nervous 😳

  101. mickydidit89 says:

    Don’t mind this competition at all 🙂

  102. Rasp says:

    Jack did a good job I thought …. played with his head and made a difference

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    It was the half time sub (very unusual) which also reset the balance. Also, they came out fired up. Arsene had a very good 15 mins. Changed the game.

    Thoroughly enjoyable game. Sorry for Peaches and Rasp and anyone else who couldn’t get in.

    Night all

  104. Rasp says:

    Question …. who was better centrally this evening …. Iwobi or M Nyles?

  105. Red Arnie says:

    well played, GN5. 🙂 I had actually forgotten we are doing Spursdays these days.

    anyway, well played to the boys. and even better the fans. this could have been very dangerous. in fact, if I may say so, that is class. any other EPL ground, and it would most likely have been disaster with oppo fans in the home stands. that is class indeed.

    cannot really complain

    hope our boys who went to the ground are safe.

  106. Eddie says:

    I missed the game, but delighted to see Hector’s name on the scoresheet

  107. Eddie says:

    Peaches, you must be exhausted!! Who else went to the game?

  108. fatgingergooner says:

    Holding going through the same second season syndrome that Chambers suffered from. He gave away lots of fouls early on and was struggling to retain possession although he wasn’t exactly helped by his team mates on that front. I think Wenger should give him a break or a run in the U23’s as he has all the quality but we don’t want to destroy his confidence. I think Chambers is further along right now and should be getting the games that Holding is. He was good for Boro last year and maybe a loan for Holding would do him good aswell.

    If Wengers not careful he could end up with 2 promising English CB’s who turn out to be duds.

  109. Gööner In Exile says:

    Ok so Maitland-Niles looked very assured in the holding centre midfield role. Comfortable on the ball with space around him and options.

    Going to flat back four gave better balance.

    Jack showed in flashes what he is capable of, but undoubtedly a bit rusty. This is a major season for him, and as fans we are going to since every time he runs with the ball and try’s to draw a defender to tackle before laying the ball off. Thing is if he doesn’t do it you reduce his effectiveness, so it’s good to see he isn’t changing his game because of fear of injury.

    Fans love him, needs to be given time.

    Kolasniac is a beast.

    Alexis is so frustrating but can do things like that goal so we have to live with it.

  110. chas says:

    Ant and me didn’t go to the ground in the end.
    We fully expected the game to be called off and even if it started, not finish.
    Older bro did go and suggested that we’d made the right decision because the section we sit in was full of Cologne fans.

    Even AW was surprised the game was allowed to be played.

    I can’t imagine the game would have passed off without further trouble at any other English Premier League stadium.

  111. mickydidit89 says:


    I reckon part of the decision to go ahead was safety, in that far better to get as many of their fans locked in for two sober hours and then exit in a controlled way after boozers had closed.

    They did make for a fine atmosphere

  112. Gööner In Exile says:

    On quite a few European nights I have sat alongside opposition fans, Dortmund and Napoli spring to mind

    I actually walked round to find a seat somewhere else in ground for Dortmund at half time, they were harmless but noisy and I wanted to spend time with red shirts who sat quietly with occassional polite applause 🙂

    Actually found Carlito (formerly of this parish) onconcourse and sat with his group second half.

    The fact that you can walk all the way round the ground when inside certainly helps for times like that. It’s relatively easy to move fans out of one section into another so all those Cologne fans with tickets could have slowly been put together whilst Arsenal fans could be moved round too.

    That the game passed off with relative calm is a relief.

  113. mickydidit89 says:

    I guess the biggest issue, inside the ground, was that so many bought red memberships and then tickets amongst Arsenal fans

    Didn’t the electronic sales machine think…oooooo, funnnnny, we have an extra 10,000 german tourists for the game!! 🙄

  114. Rasp says:

    Morning, I think The Arsenal and the police actually managed the situation really well and agree with Micky, the safest thing was to play the game once the cologne fans were in the ground.

    Holding was left without an option for a pass too often and Arsene did exactly the right thing to protect him and go to a back 4 with Kolasinac.

    I thought there was a minor revelation as sometime happens when a player suddenly clicks in the side …. Maitland Nyles became a different player when he moved centrally

  115. Rasp says:

    No doubt the UEFA enquiry will point the finger at Arsenal. There are lessons to be learned. We can expect this kind of thing especially when we play smaller teams from industrial towns in Europe

  116. Rasp says:

    The second half performance was excellent. It just goes to show that a small tweak that restores balance to the team can make a huge difference

  117. mickydidit89 says:


    V true about frustrating Sanchez, but boy does he work hard and then wallop, a goal like that.

  118. GoonerB says:

    Morning all, good result. Although I didn’t see the game it sounds encouraging that Arsene seemingly reacted tactically in the right way to change our play. It sounds like he tweaked it and went to a back 4. My only concern would be if he uses this as a green light to permanently switch back to it. I am not saying that it isn’t the right formation potentially, but I have felt that in recent years Arsene has failed to make a back 4 system work on any consistent basis.

    We have frequently been tactically exposed in this system by even mediocre teams and managers, and conversely I feel the back 3 system naturally ironed out some of our tactical flaws, poor discipline, and game management understanding of the players. A back 4 system can certainly work but needs that education and discipline put into the players and I am just not sure this is Arsene’s bag, so to speak. I would still favour a back 3 as our primary go to formation.

  119. Red Arnie says:

    class all round. happy feelings. 🙂

  120. mickydidit89 says:


  121. Rasp says:

    New Post ………

  122. fred1266 says:

    Why was the game delayed Chas fighting or something?

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