Arsenal put in a professional display to win 3-0 away in Östersund on Thursday night.
Although the team never really hit top gear, a couple of individual performances shone through.
David Ospina and Mesut Özil were the stars as Arsenal made sure they can take it easy in the return leg next week.
David Ospina 9
It’s hard to argue with any part of Ospina’s performance on Thursday night. He made five saves, including an acrobatic effort in the first half, and a penalty save in the second. That penalty stop was Arsenal’s first in normal play since 2014.
The Colombian also distributed the ball well, completing 83% of his attempted passes.
A strong all round performance and a first clean sheet in over a month for the team.
Hector Bellerin 6.5
Bellerin had a mixed game. He was generally good on the ball, completing most of his passes and four of his five dribbles.
On the other hand, he was dispossessed more than any other Arsenal defender. Plus, at the end of the game he gave away a penalty with a rash challenge.
Still a bit to work on for next week.
Calum Chambers 7
Other than being dispossessed once, Chambers had a solid game.
He made four interceptions, three clearances, won 75% of his tackles and completed 95% of his passes.
He didn’t do anything spectacular at either end, but did his job.
Shkodran Mustafi 6
Mustafi was generally decent, but there are a couple of things in his performances that are starting to become problematic.
Firstly, his insistence on diving in for everything could easily have led to a penalty for Östersund in the first half. Luckily, the referee let him off this time.
The other issue for him is the ill-advised risky passes. A few times in every game he’ll randomly fire the ball up-field, almost always resulting in nothing other than losing possession.
Then in his defensive third, he puts other players under pressure from time to time.
It was his pass, fired into Maitland-Niles when the midfielder was completely surrounded, that led to Arsenal losing the ball and giving away a penalty.
I really don’t want to see centre-backs taking as many risks as Mustafi does, it’s not worth it.
Nacho Monreal 8
We joked after the Crystal Palace match that Monreal could replace Alexis Sanchez, but the Spaniard really can’t stop getting involved in the goals since the Chilean’s departure.
In his last six matches, the 31-year-old has three goals and two assists. With all his early substitutions, that’s a goal contribution every 84.4 minutes.
His latest effort against Östersund opened the scoring early on and set the tone for the match.
After that he was solid until Wenger took him off.
Long may this good form continue!