Tonight Arsenal face Turkish side Fenerbahce at the Emirates, in the second leg of this Champions League qualification stage. After a very good performance in Istanbul last week, The Gunners have put themselves in a very comfortable position. A 0-3 win in Turkey was enough to end all hope for Fenerbahce and I assume that Arsenal will be going through the to the group stages of this season’s Champions League.
So we know the type of game they played last week and I can say that although the game wasn’t always as comfortable and easy as the score-line may suggest, Fenerbahce did struggle to make any of their chances count. We were lucky on a few aspects that their shooting was a bit off, whilst Szczesny made some fantastic saves but that aside they really struggled to get anything going for them.
Now they return for the second leg by traveling to the Emirates, where Arsenal fans can expect another brilliant atmosphere. The atmosphere on a Champions League night is always brilliant and although some may consider this game not to be a really exciting game, I think Fenerbahce will still put up a fight as they won’t bow out easily.
Let’s face it, a 3-0 lead from kick-off plus the away goals rule means we are effectively 6-0 up even before we kick off. It’s extremely unlikely we are going to bow out of this competition now, however the Arsenal boys will still have to be on their game and be full of concentration because we must remember this is Arsenal, and we are capable of beating Barcelona one week and losing to Birmingham the next! Fenerbahce are perfectly capable of doing what we did to them this time last week, so I think, despite this very good lead we hold, it will be a brilliant game at the Emirates.
With Spurs at the weekend, you’d think perhaps Wenger would rest a few players; however with our lack of squad depth it’s difficult to see who. I think the likes of Sanogo, Gnabry and Frimpong could feature tonight in a full line up that consists of:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
Gnabry Sanogo Podolski
I think Sagna and Gibbs should get a break having played most of pre-season and the start of the season, Mertesacker too however we don’t have anyone who can replace him at the moment. Koscielny should feature after having the weekend off, whilst it gives Monreal a chance to show what he is capable of as Gibbs has a rest. Midfield is difficult and perhaps we could see a youngster tonight instead of maybe Rosicky, whilst up to Walcott and Giroud have heavily featured so perhaps give Gnabry and Sanogo a chance. Podolski should feature again.
I think this is a team still capable of putting up a good fight. I’m not sure if it can beat Fenerbahce but only time will tell, and who knows Wenger may even go out there with a normal team. I’m fairly confident of a result tonight one way or another but depending on how we play it could be a close 2-1 or a massive routing. Remember Gunners, if we get through it is our 17th year running and we also receive £30 million for our participation (Di Maria anyone?)! Let’s try and make it count this time because we may not see it again for a while.