Arsene Wenger insists Danny Welbeck did not suffer a recurrence of his recent injury despite coming off at half-time as Arsenal lost to Cologne.
The Gunners, showing 11 changes from Saturday’s north London derby success over Tottenham, were beaten 1-0 in a poor contest at the RheinEnergieStadion.
A controversial second-half penalty settled the tie as Mathieu Debuchy was adjudged to have fouled Sehrou Guirassy in the area when there was minimal contact.
Guirassy stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick and give Cologne the three points which keeps them in the hunt to go through with Arsenal in second place.
Wenger’s side still progress as Group H winners despite the defeat and there was more good news for Arsenal fans as the Frenchman revealed the plan was always to withdraw Welbeck, playing his first game in a month following a groin injury, at the interval.
“It was planned before the game that he would only play 45 minutes,” he said.
“He has only just come back from injury, and we have three more games on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday again.
“Medically, the risk was a bit too high to play him for longer because he has been out for a while. He has no problem.
“Of course, he was ready to stay on and frustrated to come off, but he’s in good shape.”