Arsenal vs Besiktas: Slaven Bilic says it 'would be difficult' for Arsenal to win Champions League

The Gunners came through their play-off 1-0 on aggregate

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The Independent Football

Slaven Bilic believes it will be difficult for Arsenal to win the Champions League after seeing his Besiktas side push the Barclays Premier League club all the way in a tense play-off tie at the Emirates Stadium.

Following a 0-0 draw in Turkey, Alexis Sanchez's first Gunners goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to settle the contest and send Arsene Wenger's side into the group stages for the 17th consecutive season.

As in the away leg, Arsenal had to play for some of the match with 10 men as Mathieu Debuchy picked up two yellow cards - with the France international, as well as Jack Wilshere, lucky not to concede first-half penalties.

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Having been a match for their opponents for much of the two legs, Bilic believes that Arsenal must improve to stand any chance of mixing it with the usual contenders for the title.

"I would love it because it would make us look like contenders," he said when asked if Arsenal could go all the way to the final in Berlin.

"If they improve (they have a chance), and of course they are going to improve, the league just started and they have got a few injuries.

"They are missing the strikers although Sanchez was good tonight. But to win it? With Bayern and Real Madrid? Football is strange but it would be difficult."

Sanchez celebrates the winning goal


Sanchez's maiden Arsenal strike was enough to secure safe passage into Thursday's draw for Wenger - who confirmed forward Olivier Giroud may miss the rest of 2014 having undergone ankle surgery.

But the Arsenal boss insists he will not panic-buy a replacement for the France international - ruling out moves for Nikola Zigic and Manchester United's Danny Welbeck.

"You will ask me straight away who we will buy. I give you the answer - at the moment, no-one," he said.

"If you want to make everyone happy you buy all of these players but what is important is the performance on the football pitch. If you look at the players we had on the bench and those out injured, we have players. You cannot buy every time a player is injured.

"We are open for any position as long as we feel the player can strengthen the squad. Buy to buy? I don't see the purpose of that."

Wenger can call upon inexperienced duo Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo, as well as World Cup winner Lukas Podolski, to replace Giroud - with Sanchez another option through the middle.

"I bought him to play as a striker, not to only play on the flanks," Wenger said of Sanchez.

"He had a good game, not only on the technical side but on the fighting side.

"He was mobile and dangerous and showed he has great fighting spirit - qualities which will be important in the Premier League."