Turkish Delight For Wenger’s BoysStats
Arsenal v Besiktas
Arsenal are attempting to reach the group stages of the Champions League but need a victory over Besiktas to do so after being held to a scoreless draw in Istanbul.
A header from substitute Olivier Giroud in the closing stages of an entertaining game at Goodison Park rescued a point for Arsenal in their 2-2 draw against Everton on Saturday evening.
Arsene Wenger’s side had been two goals down going in at half-time after Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith had got on the scoresheet for the Toffees, although the Scot’s strike was lucky to stand after it was scored from an offside position.
Giroud replaced the ineffectual Alexis Sanchez at the break but the Gunners still struggled to make a breakthrough until Aaron Ramsey struck for the third time in four games with seven minutes to go and the French striker had his say in the dying moments when he connected with Nacho Monreal’s cross from the left.
It was the second Premier League game in succession which saw Arsenal score in injury time after Ramsey’s late goal in their opener against Crystal Palace gave them a nervy 2-1 win.
Either side of those games Wenger’s men had to settle for a goalless draw in their opening leg of this Champions League tie in Istanbul after they began their campaign with a 3-0 win over league champions Manchester City at Wembley in the Community Shield.
Besiktas don’t begin their league challenge until the weekend when they visit Mersin, and so their performance levels in the Champions League qualifiers have been all the more impressive with only pre-season games acting as preparation.
Slaven Bilic’s side were comfortable 5-2 winners on aggregate over Feyenoord in the first of their qualifiers as their season started with what looked a tricky tie in Rotterdam but they came away with a fine 2-1 win over last season’s second placed side in the Netherlands.
They built on that with a 3-1 win on their own patch thanks to hat-trick from Demba Ba on his first start for the club.
The former Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham striker was clearly oozing in confidence following that brilliant start to his time in Turkey and his audacious effort from the tip off in the first leg against Arsenal last week was the closest they came to scoring against the Gunners when he struck the bar from the halfway line.
Wenger was dealt a major blow in the when Ramsey was given his marching orders for two bookable offences in Istanbul; a decision which infuriated the Arsenal boss who claimed the hosts had been guilty of far more robust challenges throughout.
Giroud is also a worry for the boss with an ankle problem which may see Sanchez again selected up front while Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Serge Gnabry and Kieran Gibbs are all sidelined.
Bilic, who was sent to the stands for his protests in the first leg, has no new injury concerns ahead of their trip to London with the former West Ham defender relishing his trip back to London.
Head to Head
The first leg of this tie was the only time these sides have been paired in a competitive game to date.
Arsenal have never lost over 90 minutes to Turkish opposition or conceded a goal at home to them and a record of 12 wins and a draw from 13 playoff games in the Champions League is formidable so the 4/11 on a home win is understandable.
Besiktas gave as good as they got in the first leg – in every sense – so they’ll have no fear especially against a side missing key personnel
and can become the first Turk side to register at the Emirates although they may just fall short, so take both to score in a home win at 21/10 here.