As it turned out, this troublesome fixture was far from it and actually proved to be an ideal opportunity to boost those low confidence levels. Arsenal took full advantage of a woeful Fenerbahce side and despatched them ruthlessly with a commanding performance from the first whistle to the last in a much improved display from Saturday.
Thankfully all the injury worries we had eased as everybody who played against Aston Villa were selected tonight (except long-term absentee Oxlade-Chamberlain). Cazorla replaced him on the flank and a near full strength Arsenal side played a focused, determined game and got their just rewards.
Luckily Fenerbahce proved nowhere near as good as their pre-match hype. Familiar names such as Emre, Kuyt, Raul-Meireles and Yobo are well past their best now and they looked like a mid-table Championship side, content to sit back in the first half and defend deep, their priority seemingly to get to the break at 0-0.
The pressure has eased slightly, but Wenger has much work to do
They achieved this as although Arsenal had plenty of the ball and played some nice stuff (particularly down the right where Walcott was a constant menace) they couldn’t create any genuine goalscoring opportunities.
The most notable incident of the half came when Koscielny fell victim to a flying boot and had to go off injured. Sagna moved across to replace him as Jenkinson came on, highlighting how shallow our squad is at the moment.
The Turks made a change at the break and were visibly more adventurous, which increased their attacking threat but also allowed Arsenal to play on the break. There was a nice tempo to their play as Wenger’s men repeatedly opened up Fenerbahce once Gibbs had deservedly put them ahead on 51 minutes. The left back slid in Walcott’s astute low cross following great work from the under-rated Ramsey.
The Welshman was reveling in the extra space now and drove forward to fire home the second, although he was helped by the chocolate wrist of Volkan in goal. Giroud then put the tie beyond the Turks when he converted a penalty after Walcott was sent tumbling.
Although Szczesny had to make a couple of smart late saves, the chances continued to come for Arsenal as Walcott, Wilshere and Jenkinson went close before the final whistle brought an end to a very satisfactory night.
So as it turned out it was far better to play this game than not have a fixture and take on Fulham off the back of that demoralising Villa defeat. Who knew Fenerbache were so poor?! Credit to Arsenal for doing a professional job on them, but too much should not be read into this match. There will be much more rigorous challenges ahead and Wenger will need to elicit this kind of performance from his players most of the time if we are to have any kind of success this season.
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