Arsene Wenger has hailed his side for adapting well to the pitch at Ostersunds FK during Arsenal’s 3-0 victory in the first leg of their Europa League tie
The first leg of their last of 32 Europa League tie was played in Sweden at the Jamtkraft Arena. The game was played in -4C on a 4G plastic pitch, but that did not stop Arsenal during the night.
An early goal from Nacho Monreal in the 13th minute put the Gunners in control of the game, before Ostersunds Sotirios Papagiannopoulos diverted Henrik Mkhitaryan’s cross into the back of his own net. Ostersund did improve in the second-half, but any hope of a comeback ended when Mesut Ozil squeezed his shot past Keita to sealed an empathic 3-0 win.
Speaking after the game, Wenger hailed his players for adapting well to the difficult conditions and spoke of the importance of not conceding a goal.
“Yes, I think we adapted quite well to the pitch. They were maybe a bit cautious at the start and we took advantage of it. I feel at 2-0 at half-time, it was important for us not to concede a goal and win the second half. I felt there was room to score one or two more in the second half but we were in control and once we went 2-0 up, overall we won in a comfortable way.” said Wenger, according to arsenal.com
The Frenchman doubts he will rest some players for the second leg, despite having a comfortable 3-0 advantage heading into the second game at the Emirates.
“I don’t know, I don’t think I will rest. We’ll try to win the game again. Maybe we’ll rotate the players who did not play tonight and rest one or two who played tonight.” said the Frenchman.
Late on in the game, Ostersund were awarded a penalty. But Ospina saved the spot-kick and maintained Arsenal’s clean sheet, which Wenger later hailed the importance of.
“For me it was important not to tarnish a little bit our performance. I think we were a bit too easy on that situation and it could have left a bitter taste.” said Wenger.
The second leg will be played at the Emirates on the 22th of February.