A comfortable win and a professional performance were the two main takeaways from Thursday night's first match in the Europa League Round of 32 tie against Ostersund.

It is clear that the Gunners are increasingly sending out the message that they intend to give the Europa League their full commitment now that they are in the knockout stages and within clear sight of the last 16, and this 3-0 win away from home does a good job of setting up a more relaxed second leg.

New signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan was perhaps the standout performer on the night, with the Armenian registering two assists. He was joined in the highlight reel by Mesut Ozil, who was dominant throughout the game and also added the third goal to the score sheet in his first Europa League game since he was playing for Werder Bremen 7 years ago.

Ozil and Mkhitaryan featuring is a sure-sign of how serious Arsene Wenger is taking this competition now - nothing is being left to chance. Playing Ostersund was an experience like no other, but Wenger's men confidently handled the artificial pitch surface and a temperature that dipped to around -10C with added wind chill.

The lead-up to the game was filled with talk of the Swedish sides English manager Graham Potter and his fantastic record to bring his side this far, but there was no sentimentality from Arsenal, with Nacho Monreal settling the away side's nerves early on by continuing his goal scoring form.

The defender tipped in following a mistake by goalkeeper Aly Keita, who dropped an Alex Iwobi effort and it was one-nil.

With 23 minutes on the clock, it was two. Mkhitaryan had threatened prior to the goal, but it was his cross that helped the ball find the net by way of an Ostersund player. The former Manchester United man fizzed in a low, inviting cross but Sotirios Papagiannopoulos got there first, and the ball juddered off him and in for an own goal.

At two goals to the good, the game looked like it was over as a contest midway through the first half. The home side may have been a little bit stirred over by the occasion, as they sat back very deep and allowed Arsenal to attack them aggressively.

Before the break, the Swedish side did find itself in some decent offensive positions, but failed to capitalize on positive passages of play. Saman Ghoddos was their danger man, and while he did pepper a few efforts towards David Ospina in the away goal, Arsenal went in at half time two goals ahead and looking like they would be making their way back to England in good spirits.

This was to be the case - the second half started akin to the first, with Wenger's side dominant. Before long it was 3, with the Ostersund crowd bellowing for a penalty when Shkodran Mustafi bundled Tesfaldet Tekie over but the referee merely waved play on for Ozil and Mkhitaryan to sweep up the pitch, exchange passes and deliver a third goal for Arsenal. Ozil took the plaudits as his shot found its way past the deflated Keita.

With a 3 goal deficit in the score line, the game petered out a little, but just prior to the final whistle, Ostersund got their penalty when Hector Bellerin took down Tekie just inside the area.

Tom Petterson stepped up to take it in the hope of setting up a more competitive game in the second leg, but David Ospina got down well to his right to make an impressive save, and the game came to a close at 3-0 Arsenal. Job done.

It was a professional performance for the Gunners, and one that will make the second tie of this fixture a little easier. Ostersund have done fantastic to get where they are, but sterner tests await Arsenal in later legs of this tournament, with sides such as Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig all vying to take home European silverware at the end of the season.

Great to see in this match was the introduction of younger players. In the group stages, Arsenal fielded weaker sides, choosing to rest some of their star players, but that wasn't the case tonight, with only those injured not making the trip to Sweden. Even with this being the case, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nkeitah and Reiss nelson all got an opportunity on the field, and seized it well, with all three making good use of their time.

Maitland-Niles in particular stood-out, getting the chance to play in his preferred position of central midfield, and performing well. He has put himself in contention for chances to play their again in the future, perhaps in the second leg.

On the night, it wasn't to be for the adventurous Potter and his inspirational side. They fell two goals behind before finding their feet, and face an enormous challenge if they are to mount a comeback in North London.

The two sides meet again at the Emirates in one week’s time, on the 22nd of February, but one feels that it will be a weakened side that will be fielded, with one eye firmly on the League Cup final just 3 days later on the 25th at Wembley against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

For the final word on Thursday night’s display, Arsenal went to Ostersund and got the job done. They were both professional and clinical in their display - traits that have often been missing this season - and return to England as deserved winners. With the League position continuing to slip and the gap between Champions League positions and Arsenal in 6th place only widening, Wenger will be aspiring to win the Europa League and take a place in next season's premier competition.

Following the game, Mkhitaryan was asked whether his side could go all the way and claim the trophy, to which he replied "why not?".

Why not, indeed.