Arsenal are scheduled to play the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifying play-off against Fenerbahce on Tuesday night. The Gunners only need to avoid a catastrophe as they plot to enter Europe's elite club competition for another consecutive season.
Arsenal traveled to Turkey last week to play the first-leg amid proclamations of crises at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger, in particular, was under increased pressure following his inactivity in the transfer market this summer, pressure that was compounded by their 3-1 opening day Premier League loss to Aston Villa. His team however, silenced their critics with a resounding 3-0 win over Fenerbahce. Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud grabbed the goals as Arsenal almost completely secured their progress into the group stages.
The London club's three away goals means that Fenerbahce need to score at least four to guarantee progression. A 0-3 score line would force the game into extra time. 1-4, or any score in which the Turks win by four goals would ensure automatic qualification. Ersun Yanal's side will be encouraged by their 1-0 victory in the Turkish Super Lig in the weekend. Former Liverpool player Dirk Kuyt scored the goal as they defeated Eskisehirs.
Arsenal are in an injury crises at the moment. Mikel Arteta is yet to recover from a thigh injury and is expected to return only after a month. Thomas Vermaelen will also not feature following a back injury. Lauren Koscielny will come back into the team as his domestic suspension does not apply to Europe. Winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a knee injury, as does Abou Diaby.
The only injury concern for Fenerbahce is Emre Belozoglu, former players of Newcastle United. The Turks will certainly miss his creativity in midfield, especially in a game where they have to score many goals. Former Liverpool players Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles will return to the Emirates. In his short stint at Liverpool, Meireles scored for the Reds at the stadium in a 2-0 win.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is at 12:15am (Wednesday, August 28) and live coverage is available on Ten Action.