herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Arsenal stumble past Ostersund

Arsenal 1 Ostersund 2 (Arsenal win on 4-2 agg)

On target: Sead Kolasinac
On target: Sead Kolasinac

Arsenal survived a major scare to secure their spot in the last 16 of the Europa League despite suffering an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ostersund.

With a commanding 3-0 lead from the first leg in Sweden last week, Arsene Wenger's Gunners appeared to be coasting into the next round, only for two goals in 70 first-half seconds to send a half-empty Emirates Stadium into panic.

A Calum Chambers own goal and a neat finish from Ken Sema had Graham Potter's side two goals up at half-time, with the hosts jeered off by a restless, if reduced, crowd. Sead Kolasinac thumped home a response early in the second-half to mark his first start since New Year's Eve with a vital goal.

That was as good as it got for a disjointed Arsenal outfit, who now face an altogether different test when they face Manchester City in Sunday's League Cup final.

On the eve of the contest, Potter had said his side needed the biggest miracle in the history of football, but the visiting fans were dreaming of just that as they rattled Arsenal in the early going. They were rewarded for a positive start when Chambers deflected Hosam Aiesh's low shot past David Ospina.

If that gave them hope, just a minute later they were given a real possibility when Chambers was out-muscled by Sema before he thrashed home to stun the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal had offered very little in attack, Danny Welbeck flicking a header straight at Aly Keita, the Ostersund goalkeeper who was so shaky in the reverse leg.

Ostersund were still enjoying the odd venture forward and Saman Ghoddos worked Ospina with a long-range free-kick after Wilshere had fired high and wide at the other end.

Arsenal reacted immediately after the break, Kolasinac controlling and thrashing home with his right foot.

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