We qualified for the last-16 of the Europa League despite being beaten by Ostersunds on an uncomfortable night at Emirates Stadium.
First-half goals from Hosam Aiesh and Ken Sema sparked fears that the Swedes could spring a huge shock, but Sead Kolasinac’s goal just after half time calmed nerves.
Ultimately it proved to be enough for us to progress 4-2 on aggregate, but Arsene Wenger will not have been pleased with this below-par display.
We made a sloppy start to the match, and the visitors’ confident passing game soon started to cause us problems.
After a few nervy moments, Ostersunds took a shock lead when Aiesh was found haring into the box and his shot deflected off Calum Chambers and nestled in the far corner.
It was a shock, but nothing compared to what happened exactly 70 seconds later as the Swedes doubled their lead through the dangerous Ken Sema.
Suddenly the tie was very much in the balance, and the nerves inside a chilly Emirates Stadium suddenly became evident – this was not in the script at all.
Jack Wilshere blasted a shot over just before the interval, but as the two teams trooped off at the half-time whistle the mood in north London was sombre, to put it mildly.
But within 90 seconds of the restart, the mood lifted as Kolasinac fired in from close range after Hector Bellerin’s cross from the right reached him at the far post.
Danny Welbeck and Mo Elneny were next to try their luck as we sought to take advantage of the shift of momentum, but Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita was equal to their efforts.
Welbeck went close again, but there were no further clear opportunities and we fell to a home defeat that while frustrating, did not prove costly.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
We take our place in the draw for the last-16, which will take place at Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon on Friday at 12pm (UK time).
It will be an open draw, meaning no side will be seeded and any team can be drawn against any other in the pot.
We head to Wembley Stadium to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
We have won the competition twice, in 1987 when we beat Liverpool in the final and in 1993 when goals from Paul Merson and Steve Morrow saw off Sheffield Wednesday.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.