Arsenal face Istanbul test

08 August 2014 02:47

If Arsenal are to progress to the knock-out stages of the Champions League they will have to overcome the potentially tricky test of Besiktas, who overcame Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in the previous round earlier this week.

Demba Ba's hatrick in the return leg in Istanbul helped Besiktas to a relatively easy win over the two legs and this will not be an easy task for the Gunners.

Besiktas are managed by former West Ham and Everton favourite Slaven Bilic and are currently ranked 59th by UEFA.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal will be strong favourites to progress although they can expect a seriously hot welcome in Istanbul. The fact that Besiktas will be playing their match at the 60,000 capacity Ataturk Stadium will ensure there will be a raucous atmosphere and the first leg will be a sell-out. Besiktas squad has only 7 non-Turkish players with Ba being the most high profile by far. The match will also prove to be a special occasion for former Gunner Oğuzhan Özyakup who was on Arsenal books as a promising youngster but left in 2012 to join Besiktas. He has since played 58 games scoring 8 goals.

It will be the first really big test for Arsenal's new signings and the Gunners will be expecting a quick return on the transfer investments made so far this summer. Besiktas and Demba Ba will no doubt have other ideas but Arsenal's last visit to Istanbul when they demolished a full strength Fenerbahce side will hold them in good stead.

There might be one or two scares for Arsenal but I expect them to progress fairly comfortably over the two legs.

Source: DSG