Besiktas vs Arsenal: Predicted XIs

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Arsene Wenger says his side "are desperate" to progress ahead of their Champions League play-off tie with Turkish side Besiktas.

With the first leg on Tuesday night, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs are both injury doubts, and Hector Bellerin and Per Mertesacker have been drafted into the squad as cover.

"It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton. But in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker" commented Wenger when questioned about the niggles to two of his first-choice defenders.

"But we have Bellerin, who was 19 today, who can come in. we are a bit short. I hope Koscielny responds well to today's game."

Calum Chambers will continue at centre-back after impressing against Manchester City in the Community Shield and in the season opener at home to Crystal Palace and Olivier Giroud is set to start having proved his match fitness to Wenger in training.


Wenger also found time to complain about the draw that his side have had in recent years, saying "We have always a difficult draw, we had Fenerbahce last year, this time we have Besiktas. It's difficult."

The play-off round is always needed for the Premier League side that finishes fourth and the North London side have recently faced Udinese and FC Twente to qualify, as well as the pair of Turkish opponents.


Besiktas, usually considered the third best side in Istanbul behind Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, have enjoyed a fairly successful pre-season which included a 1-0 win against Chelsea.

Having beaten Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round, Wenger will know that the Turkish side are no pushovers, despite the fact that their league season is yet to begin.

Notable faces in the Besiktas squad include former Chelsea centre-forward Demba Ba and ex-Arsenal youngster Oğuzhan Özyakup.They are managed by ex-West Ham defender Slaven Bilic.

Possible XIs:

Besiktas: Zengin; Uysal, Franco, Gulum, Ramon; Koyunlu, Hutchinson, Kavlak, Sahan; Ba,  Pektemek.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky; Sanchez, Giroud, Campbell.

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