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UEFA Champions League

  • August 19, 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı, İstanbul
  • Referee: M. Mažić
  • • Attendance: 41531
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Besiktas-Arsenal Preview: Wenger keen to maintain momentum

Besiktas-Arsenal Preview: Wenger keen to maintain momentum

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After wins over Manchester City and Crystal Palace in the season's early stages, the manager hopes for more of the same while hinting at changes to his starting line-up

Arsenal will attempt to continue their perfect start to the season in the Champions League qualifying play-off against Besiktas.

Arsene Wenger's side, buoyed by a busy transfer window that included the eye-catching acquisition of Alexis Sanchez, impressed with a 3-0 Community Shield win over Manchester City and were then required to grind out a result when beginning their Premier League campaign with a last-ditch 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The aim now is to secure their progression to the group phase of Europe's premier competition with the minimum of fuss.

Wenger, however, knows that a tricky test awaits as Arsenal attempt to reach the competition proper for the 17th successive year, beginning with Tuesday's away leg at Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

"I believe it will be a very tough game and a very important one for us. We want to be in the Champions League group stage," the manager told reporters.

"Besiktas had a convincing result against Feyenoord [a 5-2 aggregate win in the last round] and so for us we have the luck to play the first game away.

"We know what is at stake, of course, and want to be highly focused for this game."

Arsenal have good memories of facing Turkish opposition at this phase, having beaten Fenerbahce 5-0 on aggregate last season.

Besiktas themselves are no doubt brimming with confidence as well, having cruised past Feyenoord to reach this stage. Goals from Mustafa Pektemek and Kerim Frei earned a 2-1 triumph in the opening leg of that contest before a Demba Ba hat-trick finished the job to complete a 5-2 aggregate success.

Besiktas are yet to begin their domestic season, with their opening match coming against Mersin Idmanyurdu at the end of August.

The Turkish club have never previously faced Arsenal and last reached the Champions League group stage in 2009-10.

Wenger could opt to make changes against Besiktas as he felt that striker Yaya Sanogo looked "jaded" against Palace, while Jack Wilshere suffered with sickness in the build-up to Saturday's game, although he was passed fit enough to start.

Arsenal's World Cup-winning trio of Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil are not expected to play any significant part after they were allowed to return to training late following their exploits in Brazil and sat out the Palace game.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Beşiktaş

Arsenal

Wins
0
1
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Beşiktaş JK BJK
Beşiktaş JK Beşiktaş
Draw
Arsenal FC ARS
Arsenal FC Arsenal
21%
73%

Top 3 Predictions

Beşiktaş JK BJK
0 - 2
Arsenal FC ARS
Beşiktaş JK BJK
1 - 3
Arsenal FC ARS
Beşiktaş JK BJK
1 - 2
Arsenal FC ARS

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