Aaron Ramsey found his shooting boots last night to send Arsenal through to the group stages of the Champions League for a 16th consecutive year.
Last night’s result against Fenerbahce was a third win in a row, which would have instilled confidence in a young and, at times, shaky Arsenal team.
The Turkish champions knew they had a huge task on their hands, having trailed 3-0 from the first leg, and were rarely in the game for large periods.
However, they nearly took the lead when Bacary Sagna’s attempted clearance was deflected and forced Wojciech Szczesny into making a decent save. Arsenal then made their dominance count, as Lukas Podolski’s pass, originally intended for Theo Walcott, was deflected into the path of Ramsey, who finished well.
The midfield trio of Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla were on song throughout the game, setting up chances for Giroud and Walcott, with Cazorla himself only being denied by a top save from Fenerbahce 'keeper Volkan Demirel.
The game would have been over a lot earlier had it not been for the keeper’s heroics.
Emmanuel Emenike, recently signed from Spartak Moscow, should have equalised before the break, only to be denied by a fine save from Szczesny, who tipped the Nigerian’s shot onto the post.
The game petered out in the second half, and it was in the 72nd minute that Ramsey well and truly wrapped things up, volleying into the bottom corner, to ensure Arsenal’s progression.
The only negative points for Arsenal was an injury to Podolski, who will be out of action for at least three weeks, and a nasty knock on the ankle for Jack Wilshere at the end of the game.
This will call Arsenal’s squad depth into question, and if results start to suffer, supporters will again ask why not enough business was done in the transfer market.
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