Football

Arsenal may not reach Champions League group stages

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Arsenal face a steep, uphill battle if they wish to secure Champions' League football this season.

In a tie worth an estimated £25 million, the Gunners will have to overcome a tough challenge in the form of Turkish side Fernebahce in a play-off to reach the group stages of the Champions League.

Arsenal will travel with a depleted squad with as many as five players injured on Saturday during their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky will all be doubtful for Wendnesday's trip to Turkey after sustaining injuries against Villa.

However, they are just add-ons to an already long injury list - Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal, Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta are just a few notable players who have already been sidelined.

In their squad for the Champions' League qualifier, Arsene Wenger has had to fill the empty gaps with youngsters.

One of the players included is 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem, who has been impressive in pre-season for the Gunners. Jack Wilshere even tipped him to be Arsenal's 'next big thing'.

Despite the American's promise, his inclusion in the squad just highlights Arsenal's lack of depth and need for fresh players.

He is still yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal and would probably not bring the stability that Arsenal need to force them through to the group stages.

In pre-season, Arsenal showed their vulnerabilities against Turkish opposition with Didier Drogba scoring a brace for Galatasaray, condemning the Gunners to a 2-1 defeat in their own tournament.

It was expected that Arsene Wenger would bolster his squad from that moment on, but the Frenchman is still yet to splash the cash that chief executive Ivan Gazidis has boasted of earlier this summer.

Arsenal fans have displayed their anger openly, turning on the manager on Saturday with chants of 'You don't know what you're doing'.

Their frustration would reach new heights if they were to fail to make it to the Champions' League group stages, putting Arsene Wenger's position under serious scrutiny.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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