Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praises players for adapting to freezing conditions

A goal from Nacho Monreal set Arsenal on their way before, an own goal from Sotirios Papagiannopoulos and Mesut Ozil saw the Gunners through an awkward last 32 Europa league first leg clash which should make next week’s second clash a formality.

Wenger is now under more pressure to win the Europa League as a means of making it into the Champions League next season and this was a potential banana skin.

Wenger said: “We adapted well to the pitch. They were cautious at the start and we took advantage and took control of the game once we opened the scoring. “It was important for us not to concede a goal and win the second half. There was room to maybe room to score one or two more but we won in a comfortable way.

“The risk at the start was that I didn’t know how tough the pitch would be for our players. The only risk was injury. In the end the pitch was good.”

The Arsenal manager, who named his strongest team possible on the night, admitted that he might now be able to rest some of his stars for next Thursday’s second leg, with the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City coming just three days later at Wembley.

Arsenal manager Wenger said: “I will try to win the second leg again, but I will maybe rotate and play the players who didn’t play last night.”

Ostersunds battled bravely but were outclassed, and even missed a last minute penalty, Tom Pettersson seeing his spot kick stopped by Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina.

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Wenger said: “It was important not to tarnish our performance. It would have left a bitter taste.”

Arsenal attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan said: “Why can we not win the Europa League? We have to keep fighting and in the end see where we’re at.

“We have to focus on every game regardless to ensure success. Even with the League Cup final, I think we have to play with the same team next week against Ostersunds, and win at home.

“It was Ostersunds’ first game for a while. We were more practiced. They are a good team, tried to play, but we scored early on.”

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