Arsenal made light work of sub-zero temperatures and an artificial pitch to secure a comfortable 3-0 Europa League victory over Ostersund.
The first leg of this round-of-32 tie was played in Ostersund’s Jamtkraft Arena, surrounded by snow drifts and furnished with an unfamiliar 4G surface, but a strong Arsenal side overcame trying conditions and will take a dominant lead into next week’s return fixture at the Emirates.
A Nacho Monreal effort and a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal set the Gunners on their way, with Ostersund missing a last-gasp penalty after Mesut Ozil had rubber-stamped the outcome.
What they said
Danny Welbeck thought Arsenal coped well with the 4G pitch (John Walton/PA)
Danny Welbeck told BT Sport: “The pitch was a bit hard but we knew coming here it would be a bit difficult. With the players they’ve got they like to keep the ball and we had to be a bit patient. It was a professional performance from us.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: “It was their first game for a little while and because we’re in the middle of the season we’ve had more practice.”
Asked if Arsenal can go on to win the competition, the Armenian said: “Yeah, why not? We’ll try and win every game and then at the end we’ll see where we’re at.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Henrikh Mkhitaryan
After a disappointing display in Arsenal’s derby defeat to Tottenham, January signing Mkhitaryan will have welcomed the opportunity to make amends in a less critical fixture. No one individual dazzled on the pitch in Ostersund but Mkhitaryan’s ball inside led to the own goal and he skilfully set up Ozil for Arsenal’s third.
Moment of the match
Just when it seemed like all hope was lost for Ostersund, Tom Pettersson’s stoppage-time penalty miss confirmed that was true. Hector Bellerin fouled Tesfaldet Tekie in the Gunners box at the death, sending gasps around the Jamtkraft Arena, but they soon turned to sighs as David Ospina made an easy low save to deny midfielder Pettersson a consolation goal from the spot.
Spanish defender Montreal’s opener in Sweden was his first ever in European competition.
Arsenal: David Ospina 7/10, Hector Bellerin 7, Calum Chambers 6, Shkodran Mustafi 6, Nacho Monreal 7, Alex Iwobi 7, Mohamed Elneny 6, Ainsley Maitland-Niles 6, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 7, Mesut Ozil 6, Danny Welbeck 5. Subs: Sead Kolasinac (on for Monreal, 72) 6, Eddie Nketiah (on for Welbeck, 82) 6, Reiss Nelson (on for Mkhitaryan) 6.
Who’s up next?
Arsenal v Ostersund (Europa League, Thursday February 22)
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.