Mohamed Elneny says Arsenal’s convincing away win against Ostersund sends a message to their continental rivals as they embark on a Europa League run that could lead back to the Champions League.
Nacho Monreal’s early effort, an own goal and Mesut Ozil’s first strike of the European campaign were enough to see off their Swedish opponents 3-0 despite pre-game concerns about the artificial pitch and cold weather.
The Gunners will look to finish the job and secure safe passage to the last 16 next Thursday before the tackle Manchester City in the League Cup final.
“To win away from home by a three-goal margin sends out a strong message to other teams in this competition,” Elneny told beIN Sports.
“We hope to win the Europa League title in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League. That’s only in case we don’t get a top-four spot in the league this season.
“One of the main reasons we are really focused on winning the Europa League title is to make up for the Premier League title if we’re not able to win it.”
The likes of Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund, Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, AC Milan, RB Leipzig, Lyon, Celtic and Atletico Madrid all secured wins in their respective first-leg ties. Should they all progress, it could make for an interesting draw in the next round.