GUNNERS IN DOMINANT 3-0 WIN IN EUROPA LEAGUE VS OSTERSUNDS
ARSENAL responded to their Last defeat against city Rivals Tottenham last Weekend with a 3-0 win away from Home in the Europa League versus Ostersunds. One might look at the result and scoff at it as probably not worth talking about but this was no easy victory for Arsenal. There is a lot going on off the pitch for the Gunners with respect to the possible Departure of Wenger in a few months when the season ends. And yes as a big Club they should be able to separate the administrative end of business from all matters on the pitch but still the team must be commended for emerging from the cold, Hard environs of Central Sweden with a win.
Surrounded by ice and snow, Arsenal managed to avoid what could have still very much been an almighty slip-up in Sweden on Thursday night.
By the end of the game, seven of the 14 players that appeared for the Gunners wore thermal tights. Every single one of them had gloves on. such was the freezing conditions they had to face.
Front 3 for Arsenal last Night.
Wenger said post match:
We did the job, they looked very nervous at the start and we took advantage,’ said Wenger.
‘We started well, controlled the game and played against a side that is good. They beat Hertha Berlin, drew with Athletic Bilbao, quality teams.
‘Once we opened the score we were in control, perhaps we didn’t push enough in the final third in the second half but overall we played a serious game. Job done.’
Nacho Monreal got the ball rolling with his third goal in six games and Arsenal didn’t look back, scoring another two to ensure Wenger has the opportunity to rotate his squad for next week’s second leg — just four days before the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. In what is probably a Season defining game for the Gunners.
Ostersunds — on the biggest night in their 21 year history will reflect on what might have been. Their crack at glory ruthlessly shot down by Arsenal.
In the end it was men against boys — Their player Tom Pettersson even missed an injury time penalty which would have given Graham Potter’s side a glimmer of hope. But Arsenal were not giving anything away tonight.
They can’t afford to this europa competition provides probably the only realistic chance of them qualifying for Next seasons Champions League. Even the line up suggests the experimental days of the group stages are well and truly over. Only the Elite members of the team from here on.
Danny Welbeck who was starting in his preferred central striking position — squandered two good early chances before Monreal fired the Gunners ahead after 13 minutes.
The goal stemmed from Sotirios Papagiannopoulos clearing Mkhitaryan’s effort off the line following a dreadful defensive mix-up from the home team.
But Monreal scored from the resultant corner, tapping home after Ostersunds keeper Aly Keita meekly spilled Alex Iwobi’s effort.
Hostile home crowd where in full voice
Credit to the Gunners, this was a fluent and potent opening; albeit against a team who should consider themselves fortunate to even be on the same pitch as some of Arsenal’s players.
Indeed, the Swedes looked star-struck, a weakness underlined by the countless number of defensive errors made in the opening 20 minutes.
In freezing conditions, Ostersunds needed ice in their veins to have any chance on Thursday night. They didn’t.
Mkhitaryan forced a good save from Keita with a rasping 20 yard effort before setting up Arsenal’s second, the Armenian’s cross turned into his own net by Papagiannopoulos in the 24th minute.
Effectively, that was game over, though Ostersunds rallied with Salisu Gero, Saman Ghoddos and Ken Sema wasting opportunities to halve the deficit.
But those chances were a mere blip on what was a stroll in the park for Arsenal.And Ozil added a third in the 58th minute firing through Keita following Mkhitaryan’s pass as Arsenal cruised home, though it wouldn’t really be Arsenal if we didn’t try to give the Opposition a chance to get back in the tie. Ospina was forced into a last-gasp penalty save after Hector Bellerin fouled Tesfaldet Tekie. But the Keeper Saved and that was that.
Ostersund (4-3-3): Keita 5; Mukiibi 5, Papagiannopoulos 6, Pettersson 5, Widgren 6 (Bergqvist 73); Edwards 5.5, Nouri 5 (Tekie 46, 6), Mensah 6; Sema 6, Ghoddos 7, Gero 6 (Hopcutt 46, 5).
Subs not used: Andersson, Alesh, Sonko Sundberg, Islamovic.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Chambers, Mustafi , Monreal (Kolasinac); Elneny, Maitland-Niles ; Mkhitaryan , Ozil , Iwobi ; Welbeck (Nketiah ).
Subs not used: Macey, Holding, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Willock.
Goals: Monreal 13. Papagiannopoulos OG 24, Ozil 58
Ref: David Borbalan
Man of the Match: Mkhitaryan