Arsenal will be looking to snatch top spot from Borussia Dortmund when they take on Galatasaray tonight. Two weeks' ago, the Gunners secured qualification from Group D, with a 2-0 win over Dortmund at the Emirates, while Galatasaray resigned themselves to an early exit when they lost 2-0 to Anderlecht.
When these sides last met, Arsene Wenger celebrated his 18th anniversary as Arsenal manager with an emphatic 4-1 win over the Turkish outfit. But he will rest some key plays tonight, ahead of the clustered Christmas schedule.
Wenger took the unusual approach of naming his side a day early, with fringe players such as Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell to get a run out as well as young defender Hector Bellerin. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal, while there is a welcome return for the fit-again right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who has missed three months with an ankle injury.
The Turkish Super League runners up are cemented to the bottom of the table after picking up just one point from their five Champions League fixtures. A win will do nothing to improve their standing.
Arsenal's injury list
Arsenal's injury list
1/5 Mikel Arteta (midfield)
Like Diaby, the Spaniard is closing in on a return but the Swansea match will come to soon. The club captain last played in November.
2/5 Mathieu Debuchy (defender)
Returned in the FA Cup semi-final win over Reading but has since been ruled out with injury and Wenger confirmed he remains 'unavailable'.
3/5 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (midfield)
Suffered a hamstring injury against Manchester United in the FA Cup and hasn't played since as it has exacerbated a groin problem. Out at least until May and facing surgery in the summer.
4/5 Aaron Ramsey (midfield)
Aaron Ramsey caught a kick on his calf during the win over Hull and was later substituted. The Welshman was rated 50/50 for the Swansea match by Wenger, but it now appears that he is a major doubt for the clash at the Emirates.
5/5 Danny Welbeck (forward)
Danny Welbeck has not played since the goalless draw with Chelsea towards the end of April after suffering a knee injury. Wenger has confirmed that the injury is 'nothing major', and that he should return to full fitness before the end of the season.
Arsenal have never lost to Turkish opposition inside 90 minutes and if they win tonight, they will take top spot from Dortmund, if Jurgen Klopp’s men lose to Anderlecht. If Dortmund draw, Arsenal will need to win by a minimum of six goals to win the group.
Arsenal 4 (Welbeck 3, Sanchez) 1 Galatasaray, Champions League, October 2014
Galatasaray 0 Arsenal 0, (Galatasaray win 4-1 on penalties), UEFA Cup final, May 2000
This is the 15th season in succession Arsenal have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League
Arsenal have scored 11 goals so far in their Champions League campaign, while Galatasaray have only managed three
Galatasaray are undefeated in their last five home games against Premier League opposition
Galatasaray have lost just four of their last 20 European home fixtures
Galatasaray to win: 2.9
Arsenal to win: 2.3
TV: Live on Sky Sports 5, kick off 7.45pm
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