To be kind Arsenal failed to turn up on Thursday night against Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League last-32 second leg at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners lost 2-1 against the minnows but won the tie 4-2 on aggregate
Most people connected with Arsenal believed the team had done enough in the first leg by beating Graham Potter’s team 3-0. However, 24 minutes into the game, the visitors had scored twice and were threatening to produce a magnificent comeback.
On another night, the Swedish side could have pulled off the comeback. However, they ran out of steam in the second half.
Dismal first-half display
Arsenal fielded a relatively strong team against the visitors. However, in the first half, it was difficult to tell who the Premier League side was and who the Swedish minnows were.
Ostersunds deserve massive credit, as they seemed to have massive belief that they could get the result they needed to progress to the last 16. Their players were not overawed by the occasion. In fact, they were, without doubt, the better team in the first half.
Second half improvement
Arsenal improved in the second half. However, let’s face it they could not really been any worse in the second period. The Gunners got that all-important fourth goal in the tie very early in the second half through Sead Kolasinac, which virtually killed the tie off.
Arsene Wenger’s side had far more of an attacking threat in the second period. Ostersunds goalkeeper Keita pulled off a number of good saves in the second period to keep the score down.
The Gunners showed more determination and drive in the second period. However, they should have shown that from kick-off. As Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger stated after the match, the players were complacent.
Arsenal second favourites to win the Europa League
Arsenal are the second favourites to win the Europa League at 4/1. The Gunners no doubt have the quality to go far in this competition. However, they cannot afford many more halves like Thursday’s first half.
The opposition are only likely to get tougher in the last 16 and the north London cannot be complacent. There are still some very good teams left in the competition that will cause Arsenal’s vulnerable defence problems.
The Gunners will have to be at their best and field strong starting line-ups, otherwise, they could well be embarrassed in the near future.
Whose performance against Ostersunds was the most disappointing?