Arsenal vs. Besiktas for Champions League Berth

Arsenal and Besiktas in do-or-die situation to qualify for European Champions League

By Ian Palmer

The Gunners managed a 0-0 draw in Turkey in the first leg a week ago and must now take all three points at home at the Emirates Stadium in London. If the match ends in a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes it will have to go to extra time as it will be tied on aggregate. If it’s tied by any other score then Besiktas will advance due to the away-goals rule. A win by either side will guarantee a spot in the next round.

bet365 features the following betting line on this must-win match:

Arsenal 4/11
Besiktas 7/1
Draw 15/4
Goals Over/Under 2.5, Over 8/11, Under 43/40

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels his club’s come-from-behind away draw against Everton on Saturday, August 23 will give his players confidence heading into the Champions League game. Arsenal found themselves trailing 2-0 at Goodison Park, but managed to score twice in the last seven minutes to pull a point out of the hat. The goals came courtesy of Welsh international midfielder Aaron Ramsey and French international striker Olivier Giroud. Arsenal did the same thing a week earlier when they scored in stoppage time to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at home in their Premier League season opener.

Arsenal won’t have Ramsey in the lineup against Besiktas this time around though as he was sent off the pitch in the first leg after receiving two yellow cards. Ramsey’s scoring touch will be missed since he’s scored in each of Arsenal’s two league contests. The sending off in Turkey was the first in Ramsey’s club career. Besiktas had the edge in scoring chances in the first leg with Senegal international Demba Ba leading the attack. The former Newcastle United and Chelsea player forced Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to make several fine saves including one just four seconds after the kickoff.

Arsenal created a few chances with English international midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming the closest when he hammered a shot off the goalpost late in the game. Arsenal will have German internationals Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker, and Lukas Podolski back in the lineup after they all missed the first leg. The World Cup winners sat out last week’s game as they weren’t in game shape following their nation’s win in Brazil this summer. The Gunners may also be without Giroud, Spanish international midfielder Mikel Arteta and French international forward Yaya Sanogo as they’re all suffering from injuries. English winger Theo Walcott and defender Kieran Gibbs are both ruled out with injuries.

Besiktas hasn’t played a league match as of yet since the Turkish League doesn’t get underway until August 30. However, they’ve played three Champions League qualifying games and are unbeaten so far. They beat Dutch team Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in a two-legged series before squaring off against Arsenal. Along with Demba Ba, Besiktas best players up to now have been Mustafa Pektemek and Oguzhan Ozyakup.