Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez could feature in Thursday’s Europa League tie against Cologne, Arsene Wenger has suggested.

However the Arsenal boss is insistent that Sunday’s visit to Chelsea must take priority.

Wenger is expected to rotate his pack in the Europa League, with Laurent Koscielny due to miss out through suspension. The likes of David Ospina, Olivier Giroud and Mohamed Elneny are likely to feature whilst there could also be opportunities for Jack Wilshere and highly-rated youngster Reiss Nelson.

Sanchez managed only 15 minutes in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth, with Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette impressing in his absence. Wenger said afterwards that the Chile forward was still not fully fit after his recent abdominal strain, raising the prospect that he could feature in Arsenal’s first European game of the season.

“I don’t know yet, I have to consider that until Thursday,” Wenger said when asked whether Sanchez was in line to feature in the Europa League.

Thursday’s visit of Cologne brings with it a reminder that for the first time in nearly two decades Arsenal are no longer at Europe’s top table.

Their fifth-placed finish last season leaves them with the unenviable balancing act of Thursday-Sunday football that the Europa League brings. Their first post-European domestic clash takes them to Stamford Bridge, where they haven’t won since 2011, and it is that game that Wenger is prioritising.

“At least it’s a new experience,” Wenger joked. “We will take it seriously but the priority is to focus on the Premier League and as well to manage to combine the two until December and to at least qualify.

“Thursday-Sunday morning is short as well. I have to think about all that but overall you have to win at home. You know how it is when you don’t win at home, you have seen enough games. We want a team that can win the game.”