Fenerbahce 0-3 Arsenal (Gibbs 51, Ramsey 64, Giroud 71)
Man of the Match – Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Things seemed to have returned to normal. The birds are chirping on time, the sun is setting on time, the trees look beautiful, and the ripples in the water are mesmerizing. Amazing what an Arsenal win can do to you.
After being bundled at home by a young and inexperienced Aston Villa side, Arsenal produced the goods in Turkey, as they swept aside Turkish giants Fenerbahce, in emphatic fashion.
With a squad ravaged with injury issues, there was some good news, as Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna were declared fit to play. Both were drafted in the starting 11. Santi Cazorla started as well, in place of the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Nacho Monreal made his return on the bench. Fenerbahce named a strong squad, consisting of former Premier League players such as Joseph Yobo, Emre Belozoglu, Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles.
The match got off to a slightly feisty start, and there were some concerns as Jack Wilshere was stepped upon. Both teams were creating little in the first half, and seemed content at aimlessly passing the ball around in midfield. The only spark that Arsenal in the opening 45 minutes came when Santi Cazorla sent Theo Walcott through, with only the goalkeeper to beat. However, Demirel intercepted, with the rebound falling to Rosicky, who set up Giroud, but the Frenchman’s header was wide.
Arsenal’s injury crisis seemed to deepen further when a careless high foot from striker Pierre Webo whacked Laurent Koscielny right in the face. He wasn’t able to continue, and it seemed like a dangerous injury. Carl Jenkinson came on, and there was a defensive reshuffle as Bacary Sagna moved to centre-back.
The home side, being cheered on by a boisterous home support, started the second half brighter. Mehmet Topuz looked to set up Dirk Kuyt, but the Dutchman’s effort was extremely poor. Arsenal made the all important breakthrough in the 51st minute, when Aaron Ramsey waited on his pass to Theo Walcott, before the England striker spotted Kieran Gibbs unmarked on the far side, and the left back made no mistake in blasting the ball into the roof of the net.
At the other end, Szczesny too got a smack on his head, when Moussa Sow, played in by Pierre Webo was unable to control his footing. Moments later, Arsenal were cruising at 2-0, as Aaron Ramsey’s long range effort bobbled in off Demirel. The experienced keeper had made a howler, and the visitors were almost through.
Arsenal sealed the tie, as Kadlec fouled Walcott in the box. Olivier Giroud made no mistakes with the resultant penalty, scoring his second goal in as many games, and giving Arsenal a commanding lead, going into the home leg at the Emirates in 6 days time.
It was a tremendous response from a side, under so much pressure from all corners. The loss to Villa had been a dampener, but the win in Fenerbahce seems to have slightly diffused the tension a bit. What it also does is give the manager some opportunity to rotate, as the team looks forward to a playing 3 games in 8 days.
Aaron Ramsey was fantastic all game, as he looks to have built a solid partnership with Jack Wilshere in midfield. He was literally all over the pitch, making tackles, interceptions and helping set up attacks. He played a key role in the opening goal, and scored the second goal. He will have a vital role to play this season.
The squad still looks bare in terms of personnel, and the manager reiterated that the club would be active till the transfer window closes. With rumours floating around that Arsenal are looking at a goalkeeper, Yohan Cabaye, Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema, it could be a flurry of activity going on. More reports suggest that the club have signed former midfielder Mathieu Flamini. It will be interesting to watch who comes in.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————– While you are about it, follow Blazing Cannons on twitter. @blazingcannons
And do like, the Facebook page as well.
Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!