February 15, 2018

David meets Goliath


The lowest-ranked club left in the Europa League will attempt to cause a massive upset against one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May. Nothing short of epic is what is required from Ostersunds to stun Arsenal.

The Europa League last-32 tie sees Arsenal travel to Ostersunds for the first leg at the Jamtkraft Arena. A Stadium with a capacity of 8,466 (5,092 seated), which sharply contrasts with the state-of-the-art £390million Emirates Stadium. Opened in 2006, Arsenal's home is the third-largest football stadium in England behind Wembley and Old Trafford, with a capacity of 59,867.

Arsenal won't be the first side from the United Kingdom to play at the Jamtkraft Arena. That honour falls to Swansea, who featured in a friendly game against Ostersund to mark the opening of the stadium in 2007.

Ostersunds FK could be described as something of a modern club, with the Swedish side's history going back as far as 1996. To put things into context, five weeks before Ostersund formed, Arsene Wenger walked into Highbury and was appointed Arsenal manager.

So a club that is only 21 years old and whose only major accolade is a Swedish Cup lifted in April 2017, gears up to host one of the most famous and recognised outfits in English and European football. The Gunners boast 45 trophies, including Charity/Community Shield wins, as well as 13 league titles and a record 13 FA Cups. There has also been European success for the club, winning the European Fairs Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.

Since the club's inception in 1886, Arsenal have enjoyed spells of sustained prosperity, starting with the appointment of Herbert Chapman in 1925 and most recently with Arsene Wenger becoming the most successful manager in Arsenal's history. His counterpart in the dugout, Graham Potter, featured eight times in the Premier League for Southampton during the 1996/97 season before cutting his unspectacular playing career short at the age of 30. Since taking the reins at Ostersunds in 2011, Potter has picked up the club's first major trophy and guided them from the Swedish fourth tier to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase.

An influential figure in helping Ostersunds reach the Europa League group stages, Saman Ghoddos is the club's all-time record signing after transferring from Syrianska FC in 2016 for £68,000. On the other hand, Arsenal recently splashed out in the region of £60million to make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the most expensive player in the Gunners' history. The Swedish minnows will not face the Gabon international who is cup-tied.

Stark differences in terms of budget, history and infrastructure, but the Europa League has pitted Arsenal against Ostersunds as equals. 180 minutes ahead in which the Gunners' pedigree will be put to the test by a modest side who currently sits eighth in the Swedish Allsvenskan.

The lowest-ranked club left in the Europa League will attempt to cause a massive upset against one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May. Nothing short of epic is what is required from Ostersunds to stun Arsenal.

The Europa League last-32 tie sees Arsenal travel to Ostersunds for the first leg at the Jamtkraft Arena. A Stadium with a capacity of 8,466 (5,092 seated), which sharply contrasts with the state-of-the-art £390million Emirates Stadium. Opened in 2006, Arsenal's home is the third-largest football stadium in England behind Wembley and Old Trafford, with a capacity of 59,867.

Arsenal won't be the first side from the United Kingdom to play at the Jamtkraft Arena. That honour falls to Swansea, who featured in a friendly game against Ostersund to mark the opening of the stadium in 2007.

Ostersunds FK could be described as something of a modern club, with the Swedish side's history going back as far as 1996. To put things into context, five weeks before Ostersund formed, Arsene Wenger walked into Highbury and was appointed Arsenal manager.

So a club that is only 21 years old and whose only major accolade is a Swedish Cup lifted in April 2017, gears up to host one of the most famous and recognised outfits in English and European football. The Gunners boast 45 trophies, including Charity/Community Shield wins, as well as 13 league titles and a record 13 FA Cups. There has also been European success for the club, winning the European Fairs Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.

Since the club's inception in 1886, Arsenal have enjoyed spells of sustained prosperity, starting with the appointment of Herbert Chapman in 1925 and most recently with Arsene Wenger becoming the most successful manager in Arsenal's history. His counterpart in the dugout, Graham Potter, featured eight times in the Premier League for Southampton during the 1996/97 season before cutting his unspectacular playing career short at the age of 30. Since taking the reins at Ostersunds in 2011, Potter has picked up the club's first major trophy and guided them from the Swedish fourth tier to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase.

An influential figure in helping Ostersunds reach the Europa League group stages, Saman Ghoddos is the club's all-time record signing after transferring from Syrianska FC in 2016 for £68,000. On the other hand, Arsenal recently splashed out in the region of £60million to make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the most expensive player in the Gunners' history. The Swedish minnows will not face the Gabon international who is cup-tied.

Stark differences in terms of budget, history and infrastructure, but the Europa League has pitted Arsenal against Ostersunds as equals. 180 minutes ahead in which the Gunners' pedigree will be put to the test by a modest side who currently sits eighth in the Swedish Allsvenskan.