Arsenal are traveling to Sweden this week as they hope to be in the Champions League next season with the Europa glory. Winning the Europa League would be the only hope left for Arsenal to enter into the Champion’s League.
Ostersunds on the other hand, were a tier 4 club before Graham Potter became their manager. With Potter being appointed as a manager back in 2010, the team has gone from strength-to-strength earning three promotions on the way to European Football and domestic cup success.
Ostersunds are determined to reach the Champions’ League group stages, just as their compatriots Malmo did two seasons ago.
In the dugout, Wenger will come up against George Potter, the only British manager left in European competition this season. Potter, a former Stoke, Southampton and West Brom left-back, has overseen the rise of the small club, only founded in 1996.
The two clubs have never met in Europe, and Ostersunds have yet to face opposition from England.
Arsenals have posted three wins and a draw in their four encounters with Swedish opponents. In each season that they have faced a team from Sweden, they have gone on to reach a European final – and lose it on penalties after a goalless draw
Ostersunds are the first Swedish club to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League. Four others – AIK, Elfsborg, Helsingborg, and Malm0 – have competed in the group stage but made no further progress. Indeed, the three victories Ostersunds posted in this season’s group stage matched the number managed by those four clubs put together.
First-time Swedish Cup winners in 2016/17, Östersund are enjoying an exceptional debut UEFA campaign, having eliminated Galatasaray, Fola Esch and PAOK during the qualifying phase and booked their passage to the round of 32 with a game to spare.
Arsenals are making their UEFA Europa League debut this season; their last European campaign outside the UEFA Champions League was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended with that penalty shoot-out defeat in the final against Galatasaray.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 14, 2018
Key Players To Watch
Ostersunds will have their goal scoring responsibilities shouldered upon their man Saman Ghoddos. Having played 11 matches for the team Ghoddos has five goals to his name. He will be determined to do a lot better in the biggest game of their history.
The former BVB player has settled in Arsenal like a fish in water. He has already registered three assists in Arsenal shirt after arrival in January, and he should be the one to watch out by the Swedish side.
In: Dino Islamovic, Noah Sonko Sundberg, Tesfaldet Tekie
Out: Fouad Bachirou, Tim Björkström, Gabriel Somi
Wenger must contend with one enforced change as club-record £56million record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible due to the possibility of Arsenal still being able to face his former club Borussia Dortmund in the knockout rounds.
Alexandre Lacazette is out after having a knee surgey up to six weeks. That means Danny Welbeck is likely to lead the line for the Gunners.
Ostersunds vs Arsenal Lineup (Predicted XI)
Ostersunds Lineup (4-4-2)
GK: Aly Keita
Def: Dennis Widgren (LB) Pettersson (CB) Pappagiannopoulos (CB) Mensah (RB)
Mid: Nouri (LM) Bachirous (CM) Mukiibi (CM) Sema (RM)
Att: Salisu Gero (CF) Saman Ghoddos (CF)
Arsenal Lineup (4-2-3-1)
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 15, 2018
Wenger is very likely to field a solid lineup as they are already out of the FA Cup and behind rivals significantly in the race for top four in Premier League.
Def: Bellerin (RB), Koscielny (CB), Mustafi (CB), Monreal (LB)
Mid: Iwobi (RW), Xhaka (CDM), Ramsey (CDM), Ozil (CAM), Mkhitaryan(LW)
Att: Welbeck (ST)
Ostersunds vs Arsenal Prediction
Arsenal starts off with a threat to Ostersunds and is obviously the favorites, but with the form that the club has, it will be a highly competitive match. We can expect goals in the enthralling match between the two sides.
Goals would come from both sides, and we predict the result would be a 2-1 victory for Arsenal.