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Arsenal will kick off the knockout phase of their UEFA Europa League campaign on Thursday when they travel to Swedish side Ostersunds.
The Gunners will also be hoping to bounce back after they lost 1-0 to their bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby last Saturday.
Here are the viewing details for the clash:
Date: Thursday, February 15
Time: 6 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ET
TV: BT Sport 3 (UK), Fox Sports 2 USA, ESPN3 USA
Live Stream: BT Sport Player (UK), Fox Sports Go (USA), WatchESPN (USA)
After their latest defeat, Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League and seven points behind fourth-placed Spurs, so the Europa League perhaps represents their best chance of qualifying for next year’s UEFA Champions League.
Given winning it also brings with it a major trophy, the Gunners should go all out in the competition in which they’re one of the strongest remaining teams.
Manager Arsene Wenger has not reached that stage yet, though, per Goal:
Time to prioritise the Europa League?
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he is not planning to follow Man Utd’s lead just yet in the pursuit of Champions League qualification. 🔴 https://t.co/bMMhMvwhK8
He’s nevertheless set to name a strong side for Thursday’s match, per James Olley of the Evening Standard.
Without Olivier Giroud to call upon after his departure to Chelsea in January, Alexandre Lacazette would likely have been used as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible to play, but the Gunners confirmed on their official website on Tuesday he could be out for six weeks after having surgery on his knee.
As such, Arsenal are left only with Danny Welbeck as a recognised senior option up front.
Injuries have restricted the England international to just 23 appearances so far this season, but he has only managed five goals, which is indicative of his career—he’s not a prolific scorer, with his best season at Arsenal ending with a tally of eight.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
It will be an opportunity for the striker to improve his record and stake a claim for further opportunities during Lacazette’s absence.
Arsenal should have enough about them to progress far in the Europa League, but Ostersunds will be a tricky proposition.
The club have enjoyed a fairytale run of three promotions under manager Graham Potter since he took charge in 2010, taking them from the fourth tier to the top flight of Swedish football, and they won the Swedish Cup last year.
Ostersunds beat Galatasaray in the qualifying phase of this year’s Europa League and beat Hertha Berlin in the group stage, in which they shipped just four goals and their only defeat was away at Athletic Bilbao.
The club hinted at the cold weather conditions Arsenal can expect to face:
Östersunds FK @ofk_1996
We are ready for you @Arsenal ! Did we mentioned our new locker rooms? #vigerossaldrig #EuropaLeague #iglooadventure https://t.co/c5SJQplYE3
Ostersunds have demonstrated they’re no pushovers, so a good result at the Jamtkraft Arena won’t be easy to come by.
It’s important for Arsenal to get one, though, or they’ll be at risk of an early exit from a competition they should be taking very seriously.