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Can Arsenal end Ostersund Europa League dream?
14 February 2018, 16:31
Can Arsenal end Ostersund Europa League dream?
CosminIftode / Shutterstock.com

Arsenal travel Sweden to take on plucky little Ostersund on Thursday night. It is destined to be a David versus Goliath showdown in the Swedish town.

Ostersund come into the fixture as one of the rising stars in Swedish football. The team's ascent has been down to English coach Graham Potter's brilliant management of the club. Since taking over in 2011, Ostersund has risen up the ranks of Sweden's football pyramid. The club was in the fourth division just seven seasons ago. On Thursday night, Ostersund will be competing against one of the biggest team's in the world.

Not only has Ostersund's rise to prominence in Swedish football been recent, but the club was founded 30 days after Arsene Wenger officially took over the reins at Arsenal. Founded on October 31, 1996, Ostersund is just 21-years old.

The club entered the Europa League thanks to winning last season's Swedish Cup. While many expected Ostersund to bow out of the Europa League at the group stage, the Swedish team finished level on points with Group J winner Athletic Bilbao. Unfortunately, Ostersund's head-to-head with the Spanish side prevented them from topping the group. Regardless, it was a tremendous accomplishment.

The biggest problem for Ostersund coming into the fixture is the lack of matches the team has played recently. Sweden's Allsvenskan league finished the 2017 season on November 5th. The league plays spring to autumn unlike the major leagues in Europe. The 2018 season won't kickoff until April, so there is a good chance Ostersund's players will be unfit for the match.

Arsenal go into the last-32 fixture against Ostersund as the heavy favourites. The Gunners have an incredible array of attacking talent despite being in sixth place in the Premier League. The Gunners do have one major injury worry heading into the fixture. Striker Alexandre Lacazette will be sidelined for the next six weeks due to a knee injury. The striker leads the Gunners in goals with nine this term.

If the injury news wasn't bad enough already, Arsenal are unable to field January transfer signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The striker is cup-tied due to his former club Borussia Dortmund being in the competition too. The Gunners may now regret the sale of former player Olivier Giroud, who had scored three goals in six Europa League appearances this term.

It looks like Arsenal will turn to striker Danny Welbeck as Lacazette's replacement. The often-injury forward is Arsenal's only available striker for the first-leg.

Despite not having their first-choice scorer, Arsenal should still prevail in Sweden on Thursday. Ostersund will be up for the match as it is the club's biggest in their history. However, the gulf in talent and the Swedish side's excitement should see Arsenal take an advantage back to the Emirates.

Predictions for Europa League

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_14  EL
CSKA Moscow
FK Crvena Zvezda

21/02/2018 17:00
X
flag_14  EL
Lokomotiv Moscow
OGC Nice

22/02/2018 16:00
X
flag_14  EL
Sporting Lisboa
FC Astana

22/02/2018 18:00
1
flag_14  EL
Atlético Madrid
FC København

22/02/2018 18:00
1

Europa League - predictions, tips, statistics

Featured match

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_5 Es1
Getafe CF
Celta de Vigo

19/02/2018 20:00
X

Play-offs
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
Group A
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Villarreal CF 11 6 3 2 1 10 6 4
2. FC Astana 10 6 3 1 2 10 7 3
3. Slavia Praha 8 6 2 2 2 6 6 0
4. Maccabi Tel Aviv 4 6 1 1 4 1 8 -7
Group B
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Dynamo Kiev 13 6 4 1 1 15 9 6
2. FK Partizan 8 6 2 2 2 8 9 -1
3. BSC Young Boys 6 6 1 3 2 7 8 -1
4. Skenderbeu 5 6 1 2 3 6 10 -4
Group C
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Sporting Braga 10 6 3 1 2 9 8 1
2. Ludogorets 9 6 2 3 1 7 5 2
3. Istanbul Basaksehir 8 6 2 2 2 7 8 -1
4. Hoffenheim 5 6 1 2 3 8 10 -2
Group D
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. AC Milan 11 6 3 2 1 13 6 7
2. AEK Athens 8 6 1 5 0 6 5 1
3. HNK Rijeka 7 6 2 1 3 11 12 -1
4. Austria Wien 5 6 1 2 3 9 16 -7
Group E
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Atalanta Bergamo 14 6 4 2 0 14 4 10
2. Lyon 11 6 3 2 1 11 4 7
3. Everton FC 4 6 1 1 4 7 15 -8
4. Apollon Limassol 3 6 0 3 3 5 14 -9
Group F
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Lokomotiv Moscow 11 6 3 2 1 9 4 5
2. FC København 9 6 2 3 1 7 3 4
3. Sheriff Tiraspol 9 6 2 3 1 4 4 0
4. FK Zlin 2 6 0 2 4 1 10 -9
Group G
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Viktoria Plzen 12 6 4 0 2 13 8 5
2. Steaua Bucuresti 10 6 3 1 2 9 7 2
3. FC Lugano 9 6 3 0 3 9 11 -2
4. Hapoel Beer Sheva 4 6 1 1 4 5 10 -5
Group H
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Arsenal 13 6 4 1 1 14 4 10
2. FK Crvena Zvezda 9 6 2 3 1 3 2 1
3. 1.FC Köln 6 6 2 0 4 7 8 -1
4. BATE Borisov 5 6 1 2 3 6 16 -10
Group I
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. RB Salzburg 12 6 3 3 0 7 1 6
2. Olympique Marseille 8 6 2 2 2 4 4 0
3. Konyaspor 6 6 1 3 2 4 6 -2
4. Vitória Guimarães 5 6 1 2 3 5 9 -4
Group J
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Östersunds FK 11 6 3 2 1 8 4 4
2. Athletic Bilbao 11 6 3 2 1 8 5 3
3. Zorya Lugansk 6 6 2 0 4 3 9 -6
4. Hertha BSC 5 6 1 2 3 6 7 -1
Group K
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Lazio 13 6 4 1 1 12 7 5
2. OGC Nice 9 6 3 0 3 12 7 5
3. Zulte Waregem 7 6 2 1 3 8 13 -5
4. Vitesse Arnhem 5 6 1 2 3 5 10 -5
Group L
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Zenit 16 6 5 1 0 17 5 12
2. Real Sociedad 12 6 4 0 2 16 6 10
3. Rosenborg BK 5 6 1 2 3 6 11 -5
4. Vardar Skopje 1 6 0 1 5 3 20 -17

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