Football

Arsenal take home a comfortable advantage from Istanbul

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Arsenal bounced back from their opening weekend defeat to Aston Villa with a 3-0 win over Fenerbahce at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.

It is the 16th straight season that Arsenal have qualified for the greatest competition in football, but looked slight underdogs as they went into their game with Super Lig runners-up Fenerbahce.

Worryingly, Arsenal's squad was stretched exceptionally thin with their lack of dealings in the transfer window, and many fans worried if Arsene Wenger would be able to field a complete team, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added to the treatment list.

Thankfully, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Nacho Monreal were all available.

After the last 80 minutes of Saturday's game against Aston Villa many were worried that Arsenal would crumble, but a very different team entered the pitch on Wednesday night.

Clear cut chances were few and far between in the first half, but Arsenal could have been in front after just seven minutes when Santi Cazorla threaded the ball through to Theo Walcott on the edge of the six-yard box, but Volkan Demirel came out quickly to clear.

Laurent Koscielny took defending to a new level when he received a hard kick in the face from Pierre Webo which left the defender on the floor bleeding, he then made way for Carl Jenkinson as he slowly rose and left the pitch.

Arsenal had the ball in the Fenerbahce box, pinging it around but neither Walcott nor Olivier Giroud could capitalise on the opportunity.

The game remained goalless at the interval, but whatever Wenger said in the dressing room seemed to work, just six minutes after the re-start the visitors were in front after Gibbs latched onto the end of Walcott's low cross.

Just 13 minutes later the Gunners doubled their lead through Aaron Ramsey with a low drive outside the box. Volkan got a hand to the ball but it somehow trickled in.

With all the momentum in Arsenal's favour, the hosts were starting to fall apart and a rash challenge from Michal Kadlec gifted Giroud a chance to put Arsenal three goals up, with a penalty, which he took, firing into the left hand corner.

Arsenal made substitutions to give their main players a breather ahead of next week's home tie, and ultimately finished on top. 

Just the confidence boosting win Arsenal needed to silence a few critics for a while. The tie itself is basically over and done with, taking a 3-0 win into their home leg, if Arsenal do manage to lose, Wenger will have some burning questions to answer.

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Topics:
Arsenal
UEFA Champions 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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