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Arsenal v Fenerbache Preview, Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
Arsenal welcome Fenerbache to the Emirates tonight for the second leg of our Champions League play-off tie.
We go into the game holding a commanding 3-0 advantage from last weeks first leg in Turkey so all we need to do is put in a professional performance tonight and we’ll be in the draw for Friday’s group stages for the 16th consecutive year.
The Turks were hugely disappointing in the first leg and it was a far easier task than many had anticipated. Goals from Gibbs, Ramsey and a penalty from Giroud made it a comfortable evening and we could even have scored more.
We followed that up with another three away goals at Fulham on Saturday so should go into this game full of confidence.
Laurent Koscielny is in the squad after recovering from a nasty cut above the eye sustained in the first leg. I hope he’ll only used from the bench if needed as there is no point risking him with Tottenham coming up on Sunday.
Wenger has confirmed that Jack Wilshere will start having been rested against Fulham at the weekend. Strange decision for me with the NLD on the horizon and us leading 3-0 in this tie, but it’s the bosses call.
We have no fresh injury concerns so Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the injury victims at present.
Nacho Monreal is expected to start for the first time since recovering from a back injury while Yaya Sanogo could also feature at some point.
Taking into consideration our lead in the tie and the fact we have a vital game with Spurs on Sunday, I would like to see the boss rest a few key men. Namely Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and Santi Cazorla.
Give Emmanuel Frimpong and Serge Ganbry a chance to impress. We won’t get many better opportunities than this to play them on the big stage. Here would be my preferred team:
This team should easily be good enough to beat a poor Fenerbache side, but the boss has already indicated ’95% of the team that started at Fulham will play’, so we should expect a stronger line-up. Therefore in reality, the only changes are likely to see Wilshere come in to midfield and Monreal at left-back. An unnecessary risk if you ask me, but it shows just how much the boss wants to be in the draw for the group stages (or how much he doesn’t trust his squad players?).
Arsenal 3-0 Fenerbache: Another comfortable evening in store for the Gunners.
What would be your preferred team and what’s your score prediction?