Europa League

Arsenal forward Welbeck admits injury fears in Ostersunds

A chance to start at centre-forward against Ostersunds was viewed as something of a mixed blessing by Arsenal's Danny Welbeck.

Arsenal forward Welbeck admits injury fears in Ostersunds

Danny Welbeck was relieved to avoid an injury relapse on Osterunds' artificial pitch as Arsenal eased to a 3-0 Europa League win.

A 13th-minute opener from Nacho Monreal followed by an own-goal by home defender Sotirios Papagiannopoulos put the Premier League side firmly in control against the Swedish minnows and Mesut Ozil further strengthened their hand going into the second leg by netting before the hour.

Welbeck was handed a rare start at centre-forward due to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being cup tied, a knee injury having sidelined Alexandre Lacazette.

The England international had little impact on the action but, following two major knee operations over recent years, he told BT Sport he was concerned with self-preservation throughout the match.

"The pitch was a bit hard and we knew coming here that it was going to be a bit difficult," said Welbeck after Ostersunds' Tom Pettersson had a stoppage-time penalty saved.

"Obviously with it being a 4G pitch and having had so many injuries in the past I made sure I did my rehab really well.

"You hear stories about the dangers of playing on 4G pitches after knee injuries but I did my warm-up and I was alright."

Henrikh Mkhitaryan performed better, with his ball across the Ostersunds' goalmouth forcing Papagiannopoulos to put through his own net.

"It was their first game after a while. We are in the season so more practiced," he told BT Sport.

"They have got a good team. They tried to play and show of their ability and skills. But we got two goals at the beginning and hopefully we can go [through] easily.

"We have to keep fighting every game and see where we're at."