Östersunds’ manager Graham Potter is thrilled to have been drawn against Arsenal in the knock-out stage of the Europa League.
Despite the Swedish team being underdogs, Potter can’t wait to travel to north London to face the Gunners in February.
“Fantastic draw! I wanted to get a really big team,” said the Englishman.
“I think it is really cool to be going home to England and meeting one of the best teams in the Premier League.
“Now we are really underdogs.”
Östersunds qualified for the knock-out stages by coming in second-place in their group, level on points with Athletic Bilbao. To get there, they beat Zorya twice and Hertha once. They also drew against Bilbao at home but lost away. Therefore, they’ve had a pretty solid run.
Arsenal will be massive favourites heading into the clash but Potter knows this. The chances of them getting anything is small. However, like the FA Cup, playing against a bigger team from the Premier League gives Östersunds a chance to experience football at the top level and also helps them financially.
Ticket sales and interest surrounding the tie will be high, putting the Swedish side on the map.
42-year-old Potter played for several English clubs during his career, including Stoke, Southampton and West Brom, so I imagine he probably feels a little nostalgic about returning with his own team.
It’s fantastic to see that he’s genuinely excited about the clash. We should have a good game on our hands.