Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said his side were complacent as they survived a huge scare against Swedish minnows Ostersunds FK to claim a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. The Gunners won the first leg 3-0 but one of football’s great shocks looked possible at half-time after the visitors struck two goals in 70 seconds. Graham Potter’s side, who have risen from Sweden’s fourth tier since 2010, were on top in the first half and led 2-0 thanks to Calum Chambers’ own goal – deflecting in Hosam Aiesh’s shot – and Ken Sema’s clinical strike. But the Gunners – who named a reasonably strong side only three days before their Carabao Cup final with Manchester City – improved slightly after the break and Sead Kolasinac finished from Hector Bellerin’s cross to relieve the sense of dread inside Emirates Stadium.
“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. “I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals. “In the first half we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble. Arsenal, who have never won the Uefa Cup or Europa League, will discover their last-16 opponents at 12:00 GMT on Friday. Ostersund are only the second team to win a game at the Emirates in the Gunners’ last 28 matches – a run dating back to March 2017. Chambers was arguably at fault for both strikes. For the first, he turned home Aiesh’s shot and for the second he was beaten to the ball by Sema and then turned away from the winger’s superb finish.
Things got better in the second half, although had they got worse this would probably have gone down as Wenger’s lowest point as Arsenal boss. Granit Xhaka replaced young midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the break and the Gunners looked reasonably comfortable once Kolasinac took advantage of Ronald Mukiibi’s air-kick from Bellerin’s cross to lash home. Danny Welbeck had four chances to score, but he headed two straight at Aly Keita, chipped the other to the goalkeeper and shot straight at him again in the last minute.