Arsenal flew out to Istanbul yesterday (20.7.13) on a mission hoping to complete a comfortable first leg victory in Istanbul against the Turkish team Fenerbahçe. They will be praying that they have similar success to their last visit to Istanbul where they thumped Fener by five goals to two.
Despite all the injury worries after Saturday’s poor defeat to Aston Villa the only confirmed absentee will be Oxlade Chamberlain, who will now be out of action for three months.
The stakes are massive for both clubs. For Arsenal defeat is unthinkable, although after the Villa result a defeat in Istanbul is now a distinct possibility. For Fenerbahçe, they are in the middle of the appeal against a two year ban and will not know the outcome of this until a day after the second leg at the Emirates.
Fener will have a number of players who can do Arsenal damage. Dirk Kuyt, who is well known to British football fans for his successful spell at Liverpool has a decent scoring record against the Gunners and will be hoping he can continue this. They also have Raul Meireles, Joseph Yobo and Emre, who Geordie fans will remember no so affectionately. In reality however, Fenerbahçe are in disarray and despite Arsenal’s well documented problems they really are lucky to be playing the Turks at this moment in time and I expect a comfortable victory for Arsene’s team.
The atmosphere will be red hot in the opening stages of the game but Arsenal will win by two clear goals.