Ostersunds FK 0 Arsenal 3
Monreal 13, Papagiannopoulos og 24, Özil 58

Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 Europa League last 32 win at Ostersun. Playing on an artificial pitch and in temperatures well below freezing, the Gunners scored twice early on through Nacho Monreal after keeper Aly Keita had fumbled Alex Iwobi’s cross, and then an own goal from central defender Sotirios Papagiannopoulos as he attempted to deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s cross. Having made the poorest of starts, the Swedish side began to play, but were unable to trouble David Ospina. The Colombian however was called on to make a late penalty save from Tom Pettersson. By then, Mesut Ozil had added a third Arsenal goal which in effect means that Arsenal have ‘progressed’to the last 16, but they will still want a strong outing when the return leg comes around at the Emirates on 22nd February.

Saman Ghoddos was unfortunate not to have earned a penalty when nudged by Shkodran Mustafi, the striker qualified for both Sweden and Iran but elected to represent the latter and will be one to keep an eye on in the World Cup in Russia. Arsenal however were strong all over the pitch with Mohamed Elneny enjoying a commanding defensive midfield performance, and although he lacked sharpness, Danny Welbeck will have welcomed the time out in the middle. Arsene Wenger was happy to have avoided a potential banana skin.

“Yes, I think we adapted quite well to the pitch. They were maybe a bit cautious at the start and we took advantage of it. I feel at 2-0 at half-time, it was important for us not to concede a goal and win the second half. I felt there was room to score one or two more in the second half but we were in control and once we went 2-0 up, overall we won in a comfortable way.”

With the Carabao Cup final at Wembley against Manchester City just two days after the return leg against Ostersunds, Wenger suggested that he might not be looking to rest players, but rotation would be an option.

“I don’t know, I don’t think I will rest. We’ll try to win the game again. Maybe we’ll rotate the players who did not play tonight and rest one or two who played tonight.”