Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Arsenal v Fenerbache Preview

The season started very badly for Arsenal with the defeat to Villa, but the players have rallied since then to win twice in three days. The three points away to Fulham last Saturday were badly needed and the 3-0 win at Fenerbache was a fantastic result. It leaves them in an incredibly strong position going into tonight's return leg.

Nothing short of a complete disaster and capitulation by Arsenal will see Fenerbache progress. It would normally be an ideal chance for Arsene Wenger to rotate his squad and give one or two players a chance to show what they can do. I'm sure there are a few tired legs in the Arsenal team already after three games in eight days.

However the options open to the boss mean he has virtually no choice in his selection. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nacho Monreal come in at left back for the injury prone Kieran Gibbs to give a rest. The only other change could see Jack Wilshere start instead of possibly Tomas Rosicky to give another injury prone player a bit of a break.

The lack of depth and injuries Arsenal have at the moment means the rest of the bench will be made up of much younger and less experienced players and it could be a risk to start any of them despite Arsenal's three goal advantage. I doubt if Laurent Koscielny will start as he will surely need a little longer to recover from the very bad cut to the face he received in the first leg. The only other player on the bench with any sort of experience will be Emmanuel Frimpong but there are few who believe he will make it at Arsenal and his future probably lies elsewhere. 

If the game is going Arsenal's way and is put to bed with half an hour left I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of those youngster's get their first taste of Champions League football. All Arsenal have to do tonight is play their brand of football and they will create the chances to end the tie if it's not effectively over already. They must play at the same level that they did last week though because the nerves will start to jangle if their opponents score first.

Fenerbahce will have to come at Arsenal and judging by last week's display they're short of confidence and know how. If they do try to push forward Arsenal have shown in the last two games that they can be ruthless on the break. It's a tough one for Fenerbache as they won't want a humiliating aggregate defeat but they will at least want to give it a go at some stage surely.

Aaron Ramsey has been Arsenal's outstanding player in the first three games and I expect him to control the midfield again. With Santi Cazorla in an attacking midfield role the team have so much more threat going forward and he has to be deployed there in every game that he plays in my opinion. Lukas Podolski showed that he has what it takes to play on the left side of the attacking trio by taking the chance he was given on Saturday with two fine goals.

I like Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott as an attacking trio and I think they shod be given more of a chance to play together this season. Giroud and Walcott gave the Fenerbache a tough time last Wednesday night and I expect them to do do again tonight. There's goals there for all three of them tonight and strikers love to score goals. 

I'm not going to predict a scoreline tonight but I think Arsenal will win by at least a couple of goals. It would be great if they could keep another clean sheet and get a nice early lead to finish things off early on. The players have a huge game on Sunday and the more rest they can get before that the better.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. I love our pace on the counter which I htink makes us more of a goal scoring threat than when we play possession football. Also am hoping for NO INJURIES! Pretty please.

  2. We're all hoping for no injuries.