Arsenal face a potential banana skin of a tie in the Europa League last-32, as the side from north London travels to Sweden to face Ostersunds. The Gunners will be looking to establish a good lead in this first leg tie, as the Swedish side have proven a dangerous opponent in the Europa League this season so far.
Ostersunds are currently in the midst of their pre-season prior to the start of their domestic league at the start of March. In fact, Graham Potter’s side have played just one competitive game in two months, which saw the home side record a 3-0 win over Trelleborg.
The Swedish outfit have been a bit of a surprise package in the Europa League this season, qualifying from a group containing the likes of Hertha Berlin, Athletic Bilbao and Zorya.
Potters side have a very strong home record in the Europa League, winning five of their last six home games, while also keeping clean sheets in five of their last six games on home soil in Europe.
Arsenal have been highly inconsistent of late. The Gunners followed up a 5-1 drubbing of Everton by losing 1-0 at arch-rivals Tottenham in the north London on Saturday.
One of the Gunners biggest problems of late has been their away form, as the north London side have won just one of their last games on their travels in all competitions, suffering four defeats in their last five away games.
However, the Gunners record in the Europa League is good, as they have won four of their six games in Europe’s secondary competition. Arsene Wenger’s side have also won two of their three away games in the Europa League. The visitors suffered a 1-0 defeat at struggling German side Koln in their last away game in the competition.
The home side are without winger Johan Bertilsson and midfielders Hosam Aiesh, Smajl Suljevic due to injury. Curtis Edwards and Ronald Mukiibi are one booking away from serving a suspension.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger usually makes wholesale changes to his starting line-up for the Europa League and is expected to do for this clash. Santi Cazorla is ruled out due to injury, while Aaron Ramsey looks unlikely to feature due to injury. Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible to play, so Alexandre Lacazette will start up front.
Arsenal are 2/5 favourites to record a victory, the draw is odds of 7/2 and the home side are odds of 13/2 to pull off a surprise victory.
Wenger’s side will be confident of picking up a first-leg advantage. However, they need to beware of complacency in Sweden.
Will Arsenal record a victory over Ostersunds?