This evening Arsenal will come up against Fenerbahce in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier. Arsenal travelled to Istanbul yesterday and will today come up against the mighty Turks in which I am sure will not be an easy game.
When the draw was made it was the single team none of us wanted but behold Arsenal’s luck we got the draw and so now not only do we have to come up against the arguably toughest opposition but also all the other problems that come with it. Turkish fans are known for being ‘passionate’, perhaps a little too passionate in which the passion soon turns to violence and to be honest that’s my main concern. On paper we have enough quality to beat them but its Arsenal isn’t it and so you never know what’s around the corner.
One positive outlook I suppose is the fact that we aren’t as injury scarce as we all believed. The predicted line-up of those available consists of
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Giroud Cazorla
So basically the same team, (except Cazorla) that started against Aston Villa before the humiliation began and we saw players being swapped left, right and centre. So on paper it’s a strong team. Weak in places and a match against some of the big clubs wouldn’t stand a chance in my opinion, but this game is certainly doable with time still remaining in the window. However, if the squad hadn’t been so thin, I highly doubt you’d see the likes of Sagna and Gibbs travelling. Gibbs will be playing with a bandage basically covering most of his eye and if times weren’t desperate there’s no way something like that would happen!
On to our opposition and they have made several key signings to improve their team, and although they aren’t world-class stars, they are still talents that could have been possibly looked at by Arsenal. From Fenerbahce, the man that sticks out for them is Emenike but they also have Krasic, Meireles, Yobo and Kuyt, so this won’t be a straightforward game.
Like I said, on paper we have enough quality to beat this team but we can also be easily shown up by the Turkish opposition, much like we were against Galatasaray at the Emirates Cup. Let’s hope we get a better referee tonight, because the Galatasaray and Aston Villa games were heavily influenced by poor decisions against us.