Arsenal 1 Osterusunds FK 2
Kolasinac 47, Aiesh 22, Sema 23
Arsenal 4-2 agg

Arsenal stuttered and staggered into the Europa League last 16 with a nondescript and unimaginative performance against Ostersunds at the Emirates stadium. 3-0 up from the first leg in Sweden, the Gunners were stung into a two goal first half deficit mid way through the first half, and in real danger of elimination. Only Sead Kolasinac’s early second half reply eased the fears after the Gunners had been two goals down. Calum Chambers appeared to have the last touch on Hosam Aiesh’s effort and seconds later Ken Sema powered past Hector Bellerin to fire low past David Ospina. Shocked and in disbelief the Emirates faithful looked to be witnessing a new low for Arsene Wenger’s men and boos rang out at both half time and at the end of the match. Wenger has to get his side back up for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City and said the showpiece Wembley final coupled with the first leg lead may have been a factor in Arsenal’s poor showing.

“Yes, we were not at the races in the first half. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals. Our energy was higher, our domination was consistent and we were in control in the second half. In the first half we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble. We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all,” said Wenger.

The Gunners were not only misfiring, they looked like a team just put together. No shape, no organisation and no leadership. Wenger however couldn’t put his finger on why this performance was not good enough.

“It’s difficult to say. We prepared properly and in a serious way, but you have external circumstances such as the fact we won 3-0, the fact that we have another big game on Sunday, the fact that people subconsciously think you just have to turn up to win the game. Football doesn’t work like that. We played against a good side and it’s what you see in the FA Cup. Against all teams, you can be in trouble every time you’re not 100 per cent focused.”

With Friday’s draw set to pit the Gunners against a stronger side, he knows that things will not be getting any easier and the chance of Champions League football will rest on his side stepping up in all departments.

“Yes, of course it will be more difficult. We have to wait to find out who we get tomorrow, but of course the closer you get the more difficult it will be. Ostersunds were a good candidate. They don’t have a glamorous name, maybe because they have no real history in Europe, but technically and collectively they are a good side.”