Arsenal v Besiktas: Champions League match preview

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Wednesday 27 August marks a milestone for the Gunners as they square up to Besiktas for the second leg of their Champions League qualifying tie.

For Arsenal, it is an opportunity to secure qualification for one of the most prestigious and highly-regarded football competitions in the world for the 17th time in a row.

Arsenal have made it to the Champions League every year for 16 years so far, but have never won it.

Important fixture

At a press conference held before the game, Arsene Wenger said: “For us it is very important, it’s a very important game because we want to play at the top level, on international level”.

The opportunity to make it to this Champions League is not going to be straightforward, however. Opponents Besiktas were able to hold them to a 0-0 draw last week by playing aggressive, attacking football in Turkey.

It will require a lot of pace and strength for the Gunners to pull this off, something their squad does not lack.

Injury problems

However, there have been a few problems arising as we get closer to the game.

Arsenal have been plagued with injury issues since the last leg, leading to a very different starting lineup to one you’d expect to see stepping out onto the field at the Emirates.

Laurent Koscielny is suffering from mild fitness concerns which would appear to pave the way for promising new centre-back Calum Chambers.

Kieran Gibbs is still not fit after sustaining a hamstring injury, while Mikel Arteta is set to return soon but not until after the weekend. These issues should allow Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Flamini the chance to start.

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Aaron Ramsey received a red card in the previous leg and therefore will be suspended for this game, something which could hand an opportunity to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is in better form than Jack Wilshere and will be wanting to prove himself in the centre.

Olivier Giroud will not play with rumours of the striker being out for three months with a broken foot, he will probably be replaced by Yaya Sanogo.

Predicted lineups:


Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Ozil, Cazola, Sanogo


Zengen, Kurtulus, Sahan, Pektemek, Hutchinson, Ozyakup, Uysal, Frei, Gulu, Ramon, Ba

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