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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Arsene Wenger looks to prioritise League Cup final after comfortable Europa League win

Scoreline of 3-0 over Ostersund means the London side can look to rest players ahead of final showdown with Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25.

Arsenal's Nacho Monreal celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates. Peter Cziborra / Action Images via Reuters
Arsenal's Nacho Monreal celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates. Peter Cziborra / Action Images via Reuters

Arsene Wenger admits he is likely to shuffle his pack for next Thursday's Europa League visit of Ostersund as Arsenal prepare for their League Cup final date.

The Premier League side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Ostersund in their opening round of 32 tie as a strong side coped with tricky conditions to ease to victory.

Nacho Monreal's third goal in six games set them on their way, with Mesut Ozil - featuring in this competition for the first time this season - wrapping up the win after Sotirios Papagiannopoulos scored an unfortunate own goal.

Ostersund saw a last-minute penalty saved by David Ospina, Arsenal's captain on the night, as Wenger's men all but assured themselves a place in the last 16.

That means the pressure is off on the return leg at the Emirates Stadium next week - with focus now able to be shifted to the Wembley Stadium meeting on February 25 with Manchester City as Wenger looks to add a first League Cup title to his impressive honours list.

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The forward is unavailable due to the fact the striker's former club Borussia Dortmund could still be possible opponents for the Premier League side in the competition.

"We'll try to win the game again," he said. "Maybe we'll rotate the players who did not play tonight and rest one or two who played tonight.

"I think we adapted quite well to the pitch. They were maybe a bit cautious at the start and we took advantage of it. Overall we won in a comfortable way."

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Ostersund, who beat the likes of Galatasaray, PAOK and Hertha Berlin to get this far, were surprisingly defensive in the opening quarter of the contest.

Their English manager, Graham Potter, bemoaned the start but was pleased that his players rallied to trouble Arsenal for periods of the tie.

"Arsenal were the better team and deserved to win," he said. "It was a difficult start, we weren't ourselves, we were too deep, too short. We could have gone under in a big way against their quality but we didn't.

"We showed what we were about in the second half, it is a shame we didn't score the penalty but I'm most proud of how the players responded.

"Arsenal are rightly one of the favourites. They've left a few players at home and it shows the strength of their squad. They still had World Cup winners on the pitch, talent all over and technically good level. They are clearly the best team we've faced."