Tag Archives: Europa League

Back to the football..

I wish we could get back to talking about football was what a pal solemnly said last night.

He was fed up, we were all fed up. No game at the weekend had led to us having very little to talk about bar the fall-out from the Hector Bellerin comments. It had become dull and was giving hot hair to those that really do not deserve the attention.

So it is a new week, and with a new week brings new vigour. Bellerin’s comments are last weeks chip paper. The 3-0 victory away from home in Europe ended up a side note. Time to move on and concentrate on the next 7 days.

Beating Ostersunds so comfortably in Sweden means that the pressure is off for the first half of this week. The side can train with one eye on next Sunday’s game – the League Cup Final against Manchester City.

Whilst it is still important to take Ostersunds seriously, they showed nothing when playing in the sub-freezing climate of Scandinavia. We basically need to split the squad into two groups this week.

Those who are set to start Sunday. Those who are set to start Thursday.

The likes of David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Saed Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny, Riess Nelson, Joe Wilock, Danny Welbeck, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (cup tied) and Eddie Nketiah should all get a run out on Thursday.

This leaves Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, , Laurent Koscielny and the rest of the strongest XI available free for the week to concentre on Manchester City.

Ostersunds should be comfortable. Get an early goal and it is done. It is probably done already. The Ostersunds players have the game of their life. A match against a big team from London, England. They will be star struck.

That brings us to Sunday.

I do not care what anyone says, the League Cup Final is important.

It might be 5th on the wish list behind Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and the FA Cup, but it is still a final, still a trophy.

Perhaps it shows how spoilt Arsenal fans are that some are disregarding it. Saying they do not care – and in some cases saying that they want Manchester City to win. We should be excited about playing in yet another domestic final.

You never know when your next chance to play in a final is. Next time you have a chance to win a trophy. Look at the likes of Aston Villa & Everton. Back 30 years ago, they were big names in English football. It has now been over 20 years since either won a trophy.

Chuck in Newcastle as well. What ha sit been? 50 years without a trophy?

Liverpool have not won anything since 2012. Spurs 2008. You never know how long your side might go between trophies, so to write off a chance of winning one as unimportant, even if we have labelled it the Micky Mouse Cup in the past, is just silly.

I want us to win the League Cup. I want us to win the Europa League. I wants us to win the Premier League, the Champions League and the Super Bowl. A day out at Wembley without needing to hire it. A trophy lifted above the grey skies of North-West London. Not much get better than that in life.

It might be a low priority at the beginning of the season, but for this week, the League Cup is the priority.

For those saying Arsenal will not win. Well you probably said the same last season when we played Manchester City in the FA Cup, and the same again in the final against Chelsea. In recent years we have shown up in these games. There is no reason to not expect us to show up again.

I look back at 1993. Does anyone care that we finished 10th? No you do not. That year we won the domestic cup double. The first team to do so.

So we have football to look forward too this week. And I am buzzing for Sunday already.

Keenos

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Who are Ostersunds?

Founded in the same month that Arsène Wenger became our manager, the Swedish side were created in October 1996 when three local clubs, Ope IF, IFK Ostersund and Ostersund/Torvalla FF, merged together.

A fourth club, Froso IF, joined the following year and the club then began its life in the third tier of Swedish football.

Known in the Allsvenskan for its English links, director of football Daniel Kindberg used his friendship with Roberto Martinez and Graeme Jones to start a partnership with Swansea City – and the Swans even played the inaugural game at their new 8,000-seater Jamtkraft Arena.

Nowadays, its manager Graham Potter who is continuing Ostersunds’ English connections. The  former Football League defender – who is best known for his time with York City – joined after the Swedish side had been relegated to the fourth tier in 2010, and achieved successive promotions during his first two years in charge.

Two years later they had been promoted once more, this time becoming an Allsvenskan side for the very first time in their existence, and then they lifted their first major trophy, the Svenska Cupen, after beating six-time champions IFK Norrkoping 4-1 in the final.

Their Europa League record has been equally as impressive this season. After earning a shock win over Galatasaray in the second qualifying round, Saman Ghoddos’ two goals helped them reach the group stage of the competition.

 

From there it just got better for them, finishing second in a group featuring Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin after only losing one game. They are the Sweden’s sole representative in this year’s competition, and the only Swedish club to have ever progressed beyond the Europa League group stage.

Keenos

No excuse for Arsenal to not play full team

There are zero reason’s why tomorrow Arsenal should not play the fullest strength team possible.

With no FA Cup at the weekend after a dismal display against Nottingham Forest, Arsenal do not have a game this weekend.

Our next two games are the away and home ties against Ostersund in the Europa League. A full week between the cold air of Sweden, and the wet and rainy Islington.

After the Ostersund double header, we play Manchester City in the League Cup Final. Therefore it is important for the side to get a big win in Sweden to bring back to London – allowing us to rest key players for the League Cup Final.

With us out of the FA Cup and not in the race for the league title, the Europa League and League Cup should be Arsenal’s prioritiy. Whilst top 4 is good for the bank balance, it means nothing if you do not win trophies.

I expect David Ospina to start ahead of Petr Cech, and there is a lot of confusion over whether Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng is cup tied or not. Other than the same old players being out injured, I would expect us to put out the strongest side available.

This includes the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrik Mkhitaryan, Laurent Koscileny and Hector Bellerin.

Beating Ostersund in the first leg is important, and will take the pressure of the second leg 3 days before that Europa League Final.

Back the team, even if you do not the regime.

Keenos