After the easiest boring game you’ll ever see in the first leg, Arsenal carry a 3-0 lead into the home leg of the Europa League Round of 32 tie against Östersunds FK tomorrow knowing that they can play another boring, routine game and advance fairly easily.
Still, though, Arsene Wenger is making all the right noises about respecting the opponent in the runup to this match:
they had a timid start, and we took advantage of it. But after, they showed that they are a good side.
If you look at the results of Ostersunds in the Europa League, it’s quite impressive, home and away. That game for us demands respect. It would be absolutely stupid for us to think we go out there and have a stroll… we could have a bad surprise.
He’s clearly aware that Arsenal “having a stroll” is a thing that not only could happen, but has happened this season, and one hopes that said awareness will translate to being prepared to, I dunno, score three more goals in this leg? I have the sneaking suspicion that this will be the easiest tie Arsenal face for as long as they’re in this year’s Europa League, so they need to take advantage of that and not coast.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is, of course, cup-tied for this match, and neither Mesut Özil nor Aaron Ramsey will take part. I highly doubt this will be an all-kids affair, though, like the early rounds were; if Arsenal want to really put this thing to bed, they’ll still play the strongest possible lineup, I would hope.
Arsenal vs. Östersunds FK
Europa League Round of 32
Emirates Stadium, London
Thursday, February 22, 2018
12.05PM PT/3.05 PM ET/8.05 PM BT
US TV: Fox Sports 2
US streaming: fuboTV, Fox Sports Go, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Not-US info: livesoccer.tv’s got your back, yo