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PREVIEW: Arsenal v Besiktas, Team News, Likely Line-Up + Prediction
Arsenal take on Besiktas at the Emirates this evening in the crucial second leg of our Champions League play off.
The tie is finely poised after last weeks 0-0 draw in Turkey and although we should be confident of winning the game tonight to progress to the group stages, an away goal would make it a very uncomfortable evening.
We played poorly in the first leg and Demba Ba went close to giving Besiktas the lead on a couple of occasions, but we could also have won it at the death when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot was tipped on to the post.
For obvious reasons, this game is huge as a club like Arsenal simply has to be in the Champions League, but it’s also likely to have implications over what kind of business we do during the final days of the transfer window, so we need a ‘win at all costs’ mentality tonight.
Aaron Ramsey is suspended after being sent off last week while Mikel Arteta is out with an ankle injury, so Jack Wilshere is likely to partner Mathieu Flamini in the middle of the park.
Kieran Gibbs is still out with a hamstring problem but Laurent Koscielny is expected to return after missing the Everton clash with his troublesome Achilles injury.
Olivier Giroud is also out and it looks like he’s set for an extended spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, so Alexis Sanchez could be deployed through the middle again.
Theo Walcott is close to returning to full training but he’s still unavailable along with Serge Gnabry and Ryo Miyaichi.
Sanchez up top didn’t work during the first half at Everton but we can’t really judge him too harshly as the whole team were poor. He should have more joy playing at home against Besiktas, and I can see this attack causing the visitors a lot of problems this evening. If we keep it together at the back, we should be able to grab a couple at the other end.
Not progressing tonight doesn’t bare thinking about but let’s be honest, if we can’t beat Besiktas at home then do we really deserve to be in the group stages of the Champions League? Thankfully I can see us winning tonight. Let’s just hope for an early goal to ease the nerves.
Arsenal 2-0 Besiktas COYG!!!