Arsene Wenger woes at Arsenal grow with list of injuries set to hit Champions League qualification hopes

The Gunners take on Fenerbahce on Wednesday

After a demoralising start to the season in losing 3-1 at home to Aston Villa, Arsenal must now play the away leg of their Champions' League play-off tie against Fenerbahce on Wednesday with a seriously weakened side. The chickens are coming home to roost for Arsène Wenger, who was booed by his own supporters during and after Saturday's game for not having strengthened the squad this summer.

Wenger admitted that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is definitely out of Wednesday's game with a "serious" knee injury and that Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs, who were also taken off on Saturday, are both doubtful. With Mikel Arteta already out for up to six weeks, there are also concerns about three other midfielders, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey, while Santi Cazorla is "not ready" to start a game.

Laurent Koscielny will be available despite being sent off against Villa, although he will be suspended for Saturday's Premier League game at Fulham. As well as criticising the referee Anthony Taylor, Wenger was upset by Villa's approach, which he described as "always on the fringe of correct play, slowing the game down, making the foul in midfield and getting away with it every time".

The task now, he said, over the next couple of days was "not to let the mood drop and to rebuild the confidence of the team" for what looks a difficult task in the intimidating Sukru Saracoglu stadium. Arsenal have never lost a qualifying tie but suddenly the prospect of a 16th successive appearance in the Champions League group stage is at risk.

Meanwhile, Villa's otherwise delighted manager Paul Lambert has criticised the Premier League for forcing his team to play at Chelsea on Wednesday in a game brought forward from Saturday week because the London side play in the European Super Cup that weekend.

"We gave them four or five dates to choose from and all of sudden we are told to play on Wednesday, so I don't get that," he said.

Champions League: Eye on the opposition

Arsenal were not the only side to start their league season with a sobering loss, as their Champions League opponents Fenerbahce crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Konyaspor after being 2-0 ahead in their opening Süper Lig game on Saturday.

Fener raced into a two-goal lead inside the first 27 minutes through former Everton defender Joseph Yobo and an Emre Belozoglu penalty. However, they fell apart in the second half and three strikes in the last 14 minutes earned newly promoted Konyaspor a famous victory.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy