A quick one for you guys. Arsenal travel to Istanbul for the second time in as many years but this time to Besiktas. The season is hardly a week old and our injury list is piling up already. Gibbs, Sanogo the latest in the dreaded list, sure Shad wouldn’t have faced a steeper challenge all his life. Fortunately Koscielny is fit enough to travel and Mertesacker has stayed back which means we have to emerge from the game with no further injuries. This highlights the situation of the defence at the moment- stripped to the bare bones. Besiktas are no easy opponent, that said we shouldn’t just roll over and play with the dreaded handbrake on. It’s important how we cope with the atmosphere, that is one factor that
comes into consideration when we play in Turkey. But I believe that we are more than capable of handling that.
The Gunners are still without the Germans but they will be in contention for the weekend game. In terms of personnel, I don’t think there would be any surprises Giroud and Monreal will come in for the injured duo of Sanogo and Gibbs. Rosicky may start ahead of Cazorla and Oxlade Chamberlain for Wilshere. Arteta, Sanchez, Welsh Jesus are definite starters in midfield. In fairness our midfield is top class even without that DM so it will be we interesting to watch how the home side cope with our movement and fluidity. The midfield battle will be the one to watch out for and if we can come out top, we can win the game comfortably. Our Welsh Jesus goalscoring run began in this part of the world a year ago and I wouldn’t rule him out to walk on water again.
The Turks managed by Slaven Bilic are an industrious opponent and will be looking to pounce on the mistakes. The home side easily dispatched Feyenoord in the previous round and will be full of confidence. Demba Ba, the ex Chelsea man is their star player and the Besiktas supporters will be looking to him for inspiration. Ba is genuinely top class and will be giving young Chambers a sterner test. The home side have an excellent home record in European competition. Arsenal have won all the playoff games so far and the run certainly looks to be extended. Is it not some kind of a record to feature in so many playoff games and win all those.?
A better performance than the one on Saturday is required if we are to come with a victory. We wouldn’t want to blow in the playoffs after working so hard all season to finish fourth. That would be a Spurs type implosion, which ain’t gonna happen cause we are Arsenal.