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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
Villarreal CF
Spartak Moscow

13/12/2018 17:55
1
flag_14  EL
Rapid Wien
Rangers FC

13/12/2018 17:55
X
flag_14  EL
Sevilla FC
FK Krasnodar

13/12/2018 17:55
1
flag_14  EL
Akhisarspor
Standard Liège

13/12/2018 17:55
2

Europa League - predictions, tips, statistics

Featured match

Home team - Away team Forebet
Es1
Sevilla FC
Girona FC

16/12/2018 11:00
1

Group A
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Bayer Leverkusen 13 6 4 1 1 16 9 7
2. FC Zürich 10 6 3 1 2 7 6 1
3. AEK Larnaka 5 6 1 2 3 6 12 -6
4. Ludogorets 4 6 0 4 2 5 7 -2
Group B
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. RB Salzburg 18 6 6 0 0 17 6 11
2. Celtic FC 9 6 3 0 3 6 8 -2
3. RB Leipzig 7 6 2 1 3 9 8 1
4. Rosenborg BK 1 6 0 1 5 4 14 -10
Group C
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Zenit 11 6 3 2 1 6 5 1
2. Slavia Praha 10 6 3 1 2 4 3 1
3. Girondins Bordeaux 7 6 2 1 3 6 6 0
4. FC København 5 6 1 2 3 3 5 -2
Group D
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Dinamo Zagreb 14 6 4 2 0 11 3 8
2. Fenerbahçe SK 8 6 2 2 2 7 7 0
3. Spartak Trnava 7 6 2 1 3 4 7 -3
4. Anderlecht 3 6 0 3 3 2 7 -5
Group E
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Arsenal 16 6 5 1 0 12 2 10
2. Sporting CP 13 6 4 1 1 13 3 10
3. Vorskla 3 6 1 0 5 4 13 -9
4. Karabakh Agdam 3 6 1 0 5 2 13 -11
Group F
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Real Betis 12 6 3 3 0 7 2 5
2. Olympiakos Pireus 10 6 3 1 2 11 6 5
3. AC Milan 10 6 3 1 2 12 9 3
4. F91 Dudelange 1 6 0 1 5 3 16 -13
Group G
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Villarreal CF 10 6 2 4 0 12 5 7
2. Rapid Wien 10 6 3 1 2 6 9 -3
3. Rangers FC 6 6 1 3 2 8 8 0
4. Spartak Moscow 5 6 1 2 3 8 12 -4
Group H
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Eintracht Frankfurt 18 6 6 0 0 17 5 12
2. Lazio 9 6 3 0 3 9 11 -2
3. Apollon Limassol 7 6 2 1 3 10 10 0
4. Marseille 1 6 0 1 5 6 16 -10
Group I
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Racing Genk 11 6 3 2 1 14 8 6
2. Malmö FF 9 6 2 3 1 7 6 1
3. Besiktas JK 7 6 2 1 3 9 11 -2
4. Sarpsborg 08 5 6 1 2 3 8 13 -5
Group J
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Sevilla FC 12 6 4 0 2 18 6 12
2. FK Krasnodar 12 6 4 0 2 8 8 0
3. Standard Liège 10 6 3 1 2 7 9 -2
4. Akhisarspor 1 6 0 1 5 4 14 -10
Group K
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Dynamo Kiev 11 6 3 2 1 10 7 3
2. Stade Rennais 9 6 3 0 3 7 8 -1
3. FC Astana 8 6 2 2 2 7 7 0
4. FK Jablonec 5 6 1 2 3 6 8 -2
Group L
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Chelsea FC 16 6 5 1 0 12 3 9
2. BATE Borisov 9 6 3 0 3 9 9 0
3. Vidi FC 7 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2
4. PAOK Salonica 3 6 1 0 5 5 12 -7

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