Arsenal enters Match day 3 of this years Champions League top of group G, and this round they face another difficult test in Turkey against fellow quarter finalists from last year Fenerbache. The Turkish side made quite a few changes during the summer, like bringing in Spanish stars Daniel Guiza and Luis Aragones, but these changes have not payed off for Fener as they have 4 losses already in 7 league games and are last place in the group. Arsenal will need to adjust quickly to the monstrous crowd in Turkey and will need to silence them early on.
Arsene is looking to take advantage of Fenerbache’s poor performances of late. ‘I have been involved in many games in Turkey. What is important is that you always have on the pitch the potential to quieten the supporters,’ said the Frenchman.
‘That is down to how well you play and how much personality you show, and this is down to us – so I do not think it will be a problem.’
‘We would like to take advantage of the fact that Fenerbahce are not at their best at the moment and get the points as quickly as possible,’ he added.
Aragones has only been on the job for a couple of months now, and like his fellow Spaniard down the road from here, rumors of his resignation are all about. But he is still confident in his team for tomorrow. ‘In some of the games I have seen there are nine players behind the ball and they play with one up front and five midfielders,’ he explained.
‘They don’t play as attacking football as you say.
‘But I am only concerned about my own team and not the opposition’s at this stage.’
Robin van Persie has the attitude that all Arsenal players need to have. The Dutchman said ‘It will be really tough. I experienced it a few years ago and the fans there are amazing,’ said Van Persie.
‘It was really aggressive, but that is their style.
‘You have to deal with the atmosphere. It is not nice but I think if you play for Arsenal you have to adapt and just play your game.
‘It will be a good test for us and I will enjoy the game.’
Fenerbache Team News:
Deivid, Gökçek Vederson, Josico and Emre Belözoğlu are all out for Fenerbache, and they might be without the young Turkish international defender Gokhan Gonul. This will be a big loss for this important game because he is a rising star in Turkey and Aragones would of hoped Gokhan would play a part in trying to shut down Arsenal’s potent attack.
Player to watch: Semih Senturk
One Turkish star that Fener will have for this game is Semih Senturk. I was very impressed with him during the Euros, as he was instrumental in the thrilling victories that the Turks managed to grab out of nothing. Look for him to be the link between their defense and the talented Guiza up top.
Arsenal Team News:
The only new injury to the squad is that Kolo has torn ligaments in his shoulder and will be out for more than a month. There is actually some good news though, Bendtner and Djourou are back in the squad but neither is likely to start. Samir Nasri, who limped off against Everton, is fit and will most likely start on the left wing again.
Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Eboue, Song, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Denilson, Fabregas, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor
Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas
I anticipate that Cesc will get the captains armband for this game, so this is a big step for Fabregas. I know Almunia got it in the Everton game, but I seem to remember Wenger saying that if Gallas was out then Kolo would get it followed by Cesc. I may be 100% wrong here, and if I am, Cesc will be still be a key figure in this game. He needs to dictate games like he did at the San Siro last year if we are to be successful. If he does get the armband then he will no doubt handle it with the same pose he has shown throughout his Arsenal career.
Match Facts & Stats
I think we can go to Turkey and play them off the park from the beginning, but what I think and what actually happens usually doesn’t coincide. But since I am fresh off a right result last weekend versus Everton, I will go with my first instinct. 3-1 to the Arsenal again!
26/10– West Ham(A)– Premier League
29/10– Tottenham(H)– Premier League
I usually put three, but I’ll stop there for obvious reasons!