Arsenal made light work of sub-zero temperatures and an artificial pitch to secure a comfortable Europa League victory over Ostersund.
The first leg of this round-of-32 tie was played in Ostersund’s Jamtkraft Arena, surrounded by snow drifts and furnished with an unfamiliar 4G surface – but a strong Arsenal side overcame trying conditions to win 3-0.
Arsene Wenger got out of the group stages by largely utilising his fringe players and young prospects.
But, now sitting eight points off the top four, winning the Europa League arguably presents the Gunners with their best shot of returning to the Champions League.
That explains why the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were included here and it was the former who rounded off a straightforward win after a Nacho Monreal effort and a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal had set Arsenal on their way, with Ostersund missing a last-gasp penalty.
Naco Monreal fires in the opener for Arsenal on 13 minutes against Ostersunds.
Mkhitaryan stung the palms of Keita as Arsenal continued to dominate, with the inevitable second coming at the midway point of the half.
Papagiannopoulos was the unwitting party, turning Mkhitaryan’s driven cross into his own goal from close-range after Ostersund were again caught in possession inside their own box.
Ostersund were presented with a great chance to reduce the deficit in stoppage time after Hector Bellerin upended Tesfaldet Tekie in the box, only for Ospina to save Tom Pettersson’s weak penalty.
Ozil added a third for the visitors with a crisp finish in the 58th minute.