Arsenal vs. Fenerbahce – Champions League Preview
With Arsenal on the cusp of their 16th consecutive qualification for the Champions League group stage, our boys in red and white have one final hurdle to clear when they host Fenerbahce in London today at 11:45 AM.
Last week, the squad stormed to a 3-0 victory in the hostile Turkish stadium, giving them a nice cushion for today’s match. But Fener has nothing to lose and is feeling some confidence after ending their league losing streak, although they do face a disciplinary decision regarding their matchfixing scandal tomorrow.
Fielding a strong side is important, and due to depth issues our regular first team starters will likely see playing time even with the North London Derby coming up. Look to Fabianski to step in at keeper, as Szczesny can definitely use a break. Our centreback shuffle is also a little clearer as Koscielny returns to the squad after blocking the ball with his face like a boss last Wednesday in the first leg. Not sure if he will start but we can potentially field Koscielny and the BFG at CB again. Thankfully, we do have rotation options at left back and right back.
As far as midfield, It would be nice to rest Ramsey, Rosicky and Cazorla but our midfield options are a bit limited. Zelalem may not be ready to go, although I would be happy to see him make his debut. I am more excited to see Frimpong feature. His Instagram videos make him a popular Gooner, but perhaps bringing him on later is smarter as I do expect a few Fener players to get Frimponged before the end of the match.
As for striker options, Sanogo is a strong bet after coming on in the 80th minute against Fulham, but I would expect to see Podolski or Giroud starting the match. No matter what, the squad will have to focus and close out any aggressive tactics by Fenerbahce, but I expect a comfortable 2-0 victory as our defensive line secured the clean sheet last week. A great boost prior to our massive match on Sunday versus sp*rs.
Head down to The Olde Ship Santa Ana to get your midweek Arsenal fix. Otherwise, Arsenal player’s digital membership will provide audio commentary (free sign-up required), and you can find match streams closer to kickoff by finding the match thread at reddit.com/r/Gunners/
Amir “#1 Chamakh Fan” Houshangi
COME ON ARSENAL!