Arsenal v Ostersunds

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Pictures: First team train ahead of Ostersunds

First team train ahead of Ostersunds

We were hard at work at London Colney on Wednesday morning, as we prepared for our Europa League last-32 second-leg tie against Ostersunds.

Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were among those in training, and our club photographer was there to send back these pictures:

News

Arsenal v Ostersunds: The Brief

Both Arsene Wenger and Calum Chambers remained firmly on message when they faced the media at London Colney ahead of this Europa League last-32 second leg.

Forget the fact we hold a 3-0 advantage over Ostersunds from the first leg, forget the fact we have a huge Carabao Cup final to prepare for on Sunday against Manchester City - both the boss and his young charge insisted it is all about "finishing the job".

It was a phrase that came up repeatedly at the pre-match press conference, and Wenger is long enough in the job to understand the dangers of complacency. Yes, we may be overwhelming favourites to progress, but the Swedish side will arrive in north London with nothing to lose ahead of this second leg.

Shocks do happen, unlikely results do occur and Ostersunds showed enough in last week's match to show they are capable of hurting us if we are not switched on. It is up to us now to maintain that focus and, yes, finish the job.

Read on for a comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got all the first leg goals against Ostersunds, team news, quotes from the manager, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.


THE STATS

SQUAD GOALS

Wenger on rotating his side for this match...

“I always try to find a team who can win the next game. We’re playing at home in front of our fans and there is still a lot at stake, because this competition is important for us. What is absolutely vital is that we go into the game with a good focus to win it. It’s a good opportunity for the players to show that they have the quality to compete at this level, and also there’s a fight for places everywhere, in every position at the moment. I think everybody has an opportunity and a good chance to show their quality."

WENGER ON WELBECK

Arsene Wenger on Danny Welbeck

Arsene Wenger on Danny Welbeck


TEAM NEWS

ARSENAL: Cazorla (calf), Lacazette (knee)

OSTERSUNDS: None

OPPOSITION DANGERMAN

Michael Cox:

“Saman Ghoddos was Ostersunds' top goalscorer in last season's Europa League, with eight - and he also managed four assists. An aggressive, mobile centre forward also capable of playing out wide, he'll look to work the channels on the counter-attack."

THE LAST WORD

Wenger on avoiding complacency…

“A big part is done but to be professional is to finish the job. That’s a good opportunity to show that we have enough maturity, enough respect and enough love for the game we want to play as well. That’s why I believe it’s important to win the game."

FOLLOW IT LIVE

Matchday Show: Ostersunds (h)

Matchday Show: Ostersunds (h)

News

Team news: Ramsey, Lacazette, Welbeck

Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg against Ostersunds.

The Arsenal manager provided updates on Aaron Ramsey, Alex Lacazette and Danny Welbeck, and this is what he said:

on whether Aaron Ramsey is a possibility for Thursday's game…
He’s not in the squad. He had a good training session but he’s a bit short for Thursday.

on whether Ramsey is a possibility for the Carabao Cup final…
We’ll see how his evolution goes now from today until Sunday. I don’t rule him out yet, it depends on how well he can improve with the intensity of training until Sunday.

on how he will adapt if Ramsey isn’t available for the final…
Ideally, you want to have the choice but our job is about adaptation and very rarely in your life are you in an ideal situation where you have the luxury of choosing from all the players in your squad. We will adapt. Ideally, I would like him to be available but we’ll see.

on how Alex Lacazette’s recovery is going…
He’s doing well. I think he will be ahead of his planned recovery. It should be four weeks from now, maybe three and a half weeks, so his response has been good.

on whether Danny Welbeck will start…
Yes Danny Welbeck will play on Thursday.

on Welbeck being given a chance in his preferred position…
He’s getting sharper every day. In the last week he has moved forward and I think the game at Ostersunds has done him good. Since then, I believe that physically he is getting better.

on if Mkhitaryan will play v Ostersunds…
He will play tomorrow, yes.

Interview

‘He’s had a torrid time… but he’s come out well’

Danny Welbeck

Slowly but surely, Danny Welbeck is starting to regain faith in his own body.

The England international played 83 minutes of last week’s 3-0 win over Ostersunds and, despite the testing conditions and artificial pitch, he came through the game unscathed.
 
Welbeck has been unlucky with injuries since joining us back in 2014 but, ahead of his 24th appearance this season, Arsène Wenger says the 27-year-old is learning to trust his own body again.
 
“He had knee problems on both sides,” the manager said. “When you are a football player it is very difficult to accept.
 
“When we played in Ostersund it was a good test for him because you would think the player you don’t want to pick on an artificial pitch would be him because of his history. He came through well and I think for him, in his head, it was very important that he came out of that game without having any problems.

“Even with a muscular injury you lose faith in your body quickly. One of the advantages of being young is that you feel undestroyable. It gives you an arrogance. But as soon as your arrogance is hit, you are lost.
 
“Sometimes the players are very confident, very arrogant but as soon as they lose that belief in their body, suddenly you are lost and you don’t know any more what is going on.
 
“I believe he has gone through a torrid time but he has come out well. I see signs in training now that are positive. If he can stay on the pitch and not be injured, I want him to stay here.”

Press conference

‘Will Ospina play? Yes. On Sunday too? Yes’

Arsene Wenger has long spoken of the “two world-class goalkeepers” he has at the club - and as such he follows a clear policy with them.

Petr Cech is our No 1 in the Premier League, David Ospina for the cup competitions - and as such, the Arsenal manager has confirmed that the latter will start on Thursday and on Sunday.
 
This is what he said at Wednesday’s press conference:
 
on if Ospina will play…
Yes.

on if Ospina will play in the Carabao Cup final…
Yes.

on if it was a tough decision to go with Ospina…
It’s always a difficult decision but I think they are clear about that. Since the start of the season, it’s clear. He played in the whole competition. I have two world-class goalkeepers and I decided from the start on to have clarity in the games they play. I maintain that.
 
on Ospina saving a penalty at Ostersunds…
It gave us good news on the day, yes. First of all, for us it was important to keep a clean sheet in an away game. On top of that, we saved a penalty, so overall it was good.

Press conference

Wenger on how useful the Europa League has been

Now that we are nearing the business end of the Europa League, Arsene Wenger can start to think seriously about winning the trophy.

The Arsenal manager was asked about how of a priority it is for him in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, and this is what he said:

on the Europa League…
It is one of the priorities we have. There’s a long way to go. Firstly we have to qualify tomorrow and then after that see who we get if we go through. We are focused on doing well but ideally we want to get back into the Champions League through the Premier League.

on how the Europa League has been useful for young players…
It has been very useful, but as well they have shown me that they have the quality to compete. I think this competition has allowed them to gain confidence, to show the other players in the squad that these boys have the needed quality and they can put them under threat. Internal competition has raised as well the threat for everybody because the young players have always done well.

on Mourinho prioritising the Europa League last season…
He has done that much later in the season [than for us now]. They were in the semi-final. We are not as far as that. We have to focus on the Premier League.
 
on how frustrating it is to have players cup-tied…
It will be [re-examined], I think. There’s a wave underneath with all the clubs who are fighting against that now because to be frustrated like that in the middle of the season, it doesn’t look right. When you look at the amount of money that is involved now with the transfers, it’s very difficult to defend. Everybody in Europe wants this rule to be changed.

Press conference

'It was the coldest that I've ever played in'

For all the challenges that we faced in Sweden, from the weather to the plastic pitch, we delivered a professional display to beat Ostersunds.

Calum Chambers impressed in that Europa League last-32 clash, and ahead of the return leg he told the media that it was an important win in terms of building confidence.
 
on whether the 3-0 advantage has made training a bit more relaxed…

It was a good win. I thought we went out there and did a professional job. The conditions were hard, but we didn’t let it affect us and I thought we put in a good performance. Training’s been good since then and we’re looking to finish the job tomorrow.

on another win being important for momentum going into Sunday’s final…
Yeah, momentum’s an important thing in football. If we go and finish the job tomorrow, hopefully it will give us some good momentum going into the weekend.
 
on how difficult the first-leg conditions were in Sweden…
For me, it was probably the coldest I’ve played in but as I said earlier I think we dealt with it well. We went out there, it didn’t affect us as a team or as individuals. Considering the conditions, we put in a really professional performance.

on how important it is for him to play…
It’s important for me. It’s important for me at this age to play games. I’m at that age now where obviously the games we’re playing are all experiences for me. Games like that are all new experiences, so I think that the more games you play the better.
 
on game time and if more than he expected…
These competitions can help us for game time. For me, at the start of the season I got injured, so that was a bit frustrating for me. I worked hard to come back from that. Competitions like the Europa League are big, we take them seriously, but every opportunity I get I have to do the best I can to prove myself. I’m just working hard off the pitch and every opportunity I get, I’ll give it my best.

Press conference

'They are dangerous and have nothing to lose'

Arsene Wenger is well aware of the dangers of complacency heading into our Europa League last-32 second leg against Ostersunds.

We put in a professional display to beat the Swedish side 3-0 last week, but the Arsenal manager feels that our opponents will have "nothing to lose" now.

on if Ostersunds will play differently on Thursday…
In this game, there are two aspects that Ostersunds have shown us: they had a timid start, and we took advantage of it. But after, they showed that they are a good side. For us it’s absolutely vital to play well to have a chance to win the game. We play at home and we want to win the game. 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. 

on who from Ostersunds impressed him…
I believe that the most impressive player in the first game was Ghoddos, who is a marvellous player technically and tactically. I was impressed with him and overall I believe that collectively they are a team that play good football.

on if he wants to sign Ghoddos…
We are not in the transfer period, give me a little breather!

on if Ostersunds will play with freedom…
They have nothing to lose. I agree with you, they were a bit nervous at the start. We took advantage of it. After, the more the game went on, the more they showed their quality. The second half was quite even and we needed to fight until the end. They missed a penalty at the end and they are a dangerous side.

Matchday Show

Follow the Ostersunds game LIVE on Arsenal.com

Matchday Show: Ostersunds (h)

We take on Ostersunds on Thursday evening - and if you’re not at Emirates Stadium, no problem, because you can follow it LIVE on Arsenal.com.

Tune in to the website from 7.35pm (UK time) for the following from our Europa League last-32 second-leg tie: 

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up and audio commentary from 8.05pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip will be available from midnight Thursday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!