Business as usual says Arsenal’s Bellerin
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Hector Bellerin insisted it had to be business as usual for Arsenal after a disruptive pre-match build-up to their Europa League clash with Cologne.
Kick-offf at the Emirates Stadium was delayed by an hour due to many Cologne fans either travelling without tickets or purchasing tickets in home sections of the ground.
And the visiting masses were celebrating when their team took an early lead through Jhon Cordoba’s 40-yard strike and maintained it until half-time.
But substitute Sead Kolasinac’s volley levelled matters and Alexis Sanchez’s superb curler put the Gunners ahead, before Bellerin’s 82nd-minute goal saw Arsenal to a 3-1 win.
Bellerin told BT Sport 2: “We were ready to play at 8pm but we had to play an hour late. You have to be ready, these things happen – not often, but you have to be ready.
“After not a very good start, the boss changed things and it worked, it gave us a boost in the second half and we’re happy to go on and get the victory.”
Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification this season for the first time in two decades under Wenger, but Bellerin hinted they will hope to emulate Manchester United last season by winning the Europa League to secure a return to the top table.
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“It’s a new competition for us and we had to set the tone,” added the Spaniard.
“We think we’re one of the best teams in the competition and we have to show that on the pitch.”
The win will provide an important lift ahead of a difficult trip to Premier League rivals Chelsea on Sunday.
Arsenal beat the defending champions in the Community Shield at Wembley in August, but have lost at Stoke and Liverpool so far this term.
Bellerin continued: “We already had confidence (from Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth) and this win, and coming back from losing, gives us a boost.
“We’ll train hard these two days coming and we’ll be ready for Sunday.”