Matchday 3 in the Champions League group stages, and we travel to Turkey to take on Fenerbahce for the start of two back to back fixtures against them. After this, our next two Champions League games come days before matches against Manchester United and Chelsea, so it’d be nice to have a bit of breathing room by winning this fixture. It’ll be a tough game, while Fenerbahce aren’t exactly one of Europe’s most successful sides, the Sükrü Saracoglu Stadium doesn’t strike me as an easy place to pick up points.
And the last time we played Turkish opposition it didn’t go too well. Fenerbahce won all five of their home Champions League games last season, and that form helped them to a place in the quarter finals where they were knocked out by Chelsea.
We currently sit top of Group G after beating Porto.
Fenerbahce are a side we should be looking to beat away from home, but our team will be weakened by injury so this could be a tough game. Whenever our starting line up is likely to contain Eboue, Silvestre, Song, Denilson and Djourou, I’d probably be happy with a draw. However, van Persie and Adebayor looked good together in the last Champions League game and hopefully they can re-create that form. To try and get past the disjointed start to the season that we’ve had, we need to start winning multiple games in a row to get into some sort of momentum going into a difficult period of the season. We play United, City, Villa and Chelsea in November, not a calendar month usually associated with good Arsenal results, so wins, in all competitions, will be vital to get the side growing in confidence.
Gallas and Sagna are still out but could be back for the weekend. Toure also definitely misses the game after damaging shoulder ligaments at the weekend, not sure how long he’ll be out for. Nasri should be in the squad despite limping off on Saturday. Bendtner and Djourou return to the squad after injury and could both have a part to play. With all the defensive injuries we could see the yet-to-concede centre back combo of Song and Silvestre re-united. Wenger may go for more of a 4-5-1 formation as he sometimes does in European away games, with Walcott and van Persie supporting Adebayor and a midfield three of Fabregas, Diaby and Denilson.
Subs: Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Ramsey, Nasri, Vela, Bendtner.