Arsenal progressed to the last sixteen of the Europa League on Thursday night, but were made to work for it by Ostersund.
Taking a 3-0 first leg lead into the Emirates, the Gunners were expected to finish the job with relative ease against the Swedish side in the second leg – but Arsenal’s ability to make things markedly difficult for themselves flared up again in dramatic fashion.
Arsene Wenger’s side fell behind midway through the second half, with Calum Chambers directing Hosam Aiesh’s shot into his own net. One became two less than a minute later, as Ken Sema fired past David Ospina to really open the tie up as a contest and cause a bit of panic to creep into the collective minds of the home fans.
Indeed, the Emirates crowd made their feelings perfectly clear as the teams walked off at half time Former Arsenal man Martin Keown was equally as disgusted with what he had witnessed.
HT at the Emirates!
Arsenal 0-2 Ostersund (3-2 agg).
— eir Sport (@eirSport) February 22, 2018
“I’m embarrassed watching as a former player!”
Martin Keown can’t believe what he is seeing at the Emirates.
Arsenal 0-2 Östersunds
? BT Sport 2 HD and 4K UHD pic.twitter.com/GSBvP7V2pE
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 22, 2018
Any doubts that Arsenal might have had were calmed soon after the restart, however. Sead Kolasinac capitalised on a mix-up at the pack to strike on the half-volley, halving the deficit on the night and putting the Premier League giants two goals up once again.
The game finished 2-1 to Ostersund on the night but 4-2 to Arsenal on aggregate, Graham Potter’s side leaving London with bucket loads of credit after giving their more illustrious opponents far more of a game than had been anticipated.
While the visitors were praised for their performance, Arsenal were pilloried for an abject performance just days before the EFL Cup final against Manchester City:
What a horrible performance from Arsenal. Knowing them, they’ll now go and beat City on Sunday
— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) February 22, 2018
Only Arsenal could qualify for the next round but still make it a thoroughly disappointing night, giving the fans more reason to fume.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 22, 2018
F/T: 2-1 Ostersund. Awful performance from Arsenal, who still scrape through. Credit to the Swedes, who were superb.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 22, 2018
Arsenal lost at home to a club I didn’t even know existed until 2 weeks ago. Unreal banter. FML ?
— Mike Sanz (@mikesanz19) February 22, 2018
Congrats Ostersunds on a famous and thoroughly deserved victory. Arsenal hang your heads.
— AFCAMDEN (@AFCAMDEN) February 22, 2018
Pathetic display from @Arsenal as we sneak through. Astronomical improvement needed on Sunday to even compete with City let alone get a result.
— Sam (@samuelJayC) February 22, 2018
Only Arsenal can make qualification feel like a punch in the gut.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) February 22, 2018
Arsenal go into the final off the back of a defeat to Ostersund, Man City to Wigan. Sunday’s clash at Wembley will demand vast improvements from both sides
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we look back at last week’s season-opening Dublin derby and debate Graham Cummins’ controversial red card as we review and preview all of the latest League of Ireland action.