Thursday, 22 February 2018

Arsenal vs Ostersunds Match Preview, Possible Lineups + Other Today's EL Fixtures

Arsenal have done what was expected of them in the first leg, taking back a comfortable advantage from Sweden, and now their young players - so impressive during the UEFA Europa League group stages - have another chance to shine at the Emirates.
Arsenal vs Ostersunds FK
UEFA Europa League
Date: Thursday, 22 February 2018
Kick-Off at 21:05 - Nigerian Time
Venue: Emirates Stadium (London).
While they did suffer one away defeat, and could not break Red Star Belgrade down at home, Arsenal's young team generally impressed and scored 14 goals in their six matches.

And even though two of their main attacking threats in the group stages - Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott - have now left the club, this is a chance for Danny Welbeck to follow their lead and prove himself in front of goal again.

The striker's Arsenal career has failed to ignite due to several injuries, and just as Jack Wilshere has taken the bull by the horns and seized his chance in the Europa League, this is Welbeck's opportunity to do the same.

Ostersunds were comfortably beaten in the first leg, and while they improved enough after the break to suggest they can at least push Arsenal hard at the Emirates, they will not get near overturning the 3-0 deficit.

 TEAM NEWS:

Arsenal - Despite promises of playing a full-strength team in the knockout stages, the Gunners still found places for the likes of Callum Chambers and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the first leg and there will be more rotation for the second leg. Mesut Ozil, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all likely to be rested from the team which started the first leg.

Ostersunds - The Swedish side finished the first leg strongly, and could have pulled a goal back but for Tom Pettersson's missed penalty. As a result, Jamie Hopcutt and Tesfaldet Tekie, who both came on at half-time in that game, could feature from the start at Arsenal.

TEAM FORMS:

Arsenal have lost two of their last four matches, but at home they are unbeaten since a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at the start of December which, in turn, was their only home defeat in competitive matches so far this season. Last time out at home they thrashed Everton 5-1 - a result which was sandwiched by league defeats to Swansea and Tottenham before last week's Europa League win at Ostersunds.

Ostersunds returned to competitive action with a 3-0 home win in the Svenska Cupen before the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal last time out. They had previously looked to regain match sharpness with friendlies against GIF Sundsvall and Lokomotiv Moscow - drawing the latter 3-3.


PREDICTED LINEUPS:

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) - Ospina; Chambers, Mertesacker, Holding, Kolasinac; Elneny, Maitland-Niles; Nelson, Wilshere, Iwobi; Welbeck.

Ostersunds (5-2-1-2) - Keita; Edwards, Mukiibi, Papgiannopoulos, Pettersson, Widgren; Sema, Teki; Ghoddos; Gero, Hopcutt.

KEY STATS:
  • Arsenal remain unbeaten in Europe against Swedish opposition following their 3-0 win in the first leg - the first time they have ever played Ostersunds, who are in their maiden campaign in the Europa League.
  • Tonight's game will only be the second ever head to head encounter between these two sides.


CORRECT SCORE PREDICTION: 

Arsenal 2-0 Ostersunds - The Gunners won comfortably in the first leg, and despite their changes will expect similar in the second leg at home - where they have been impressive despite their overall struggles this season.

TODAY'S UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE FIXTURES IN FULL

17:00 —   Lokomotiv Moscow VS Nice

19:00 —   Atletico Madrid VS FC Koebenhavn

19:00 —   Dynamo Kyiv VS AEK Athens

19:00 —   Lazio VS FC FCSB

19:00 —   RasenBallsport Leipzig VS SSC Napoli

19:00 —   Sporting CP VS FC Astana

19:00 —   Viktoria Plzen VS Partizan Beograd

19:00 —   Villarreal VS Lyon

19:00 —   Zenit St. Petersburg VS Celtic

21:05 —   AC Milan VS Ludogorets Razgrad

21:05 —   Arsenal VS Oestersunds FK

21:05 —   Atalanta VS Borussia Dortmund

21:05 —   Athletic Bilbao VS Spartak Moscow

21:05 —   Braga VS Marseille

21:05 —   Salzburg VS Real Sociedad

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