Fenerbahce 0 Arsenal 3: Arsene Wenger earns time as Gunners triumph in Champions League play-off first leg
Gunners on verge of Champions League group stage after win in Turkey
Thursday 22 August 2013
Arsenal dispelled the sense of crisis that had developed around them this week with an emphatic victory over Fenerbahce in the first leg of a potentially tricky Champions League play-off.
Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, has found himself under growing pressure since the 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa in their opening Premier League game on Saturday, but his side responded magnificently to the emergency by winning 3-0 in Istanbul.
The victory renders next Tuesday's return a virtual formality and puts Arsenal on the brink of the lucrative group stage. The only downside for Wenger was a nasty injury for centre-half Laurent Koscielny, who had to have a head wound stitched up after a high kick from Fenerbahce's Pierre Webo.
Arsenal were the better side in the first half and enjoyed plenty of possession without creating many clear-cut chances. The closest they came was when Olivier Giroud headed narrowly wide from a Tomas Rosicky cross.
Wenger's injury problems increased when Koscielny had to go off after being kicked in the face by Webo. That left the Arsenal manager remonstrating with the officials when Webo was only booked while Koscielny received stitches in the dressing room. He was later taken to hospital.
However, Arsenal's frustration was relieved when Kieran Gibbs gave them the lead six minutes after the restart, turning in Theo Walcott's low cross from the right at the far post after the winger had been released by a fine Jack Wilshere through ball.
Thirteen minutes later Aaron Ramsey made it two with a 20-yard shot and Giroud wrapped up matters with a penalty after Walcott had been tripped in the area.
"It wasn't the ideal start to the Premiership but we bounced back tonight," Ramsey said. "We played really well as a team. We've been under a lot of criticism of late but it was vital that we stayed switched on and got a great result here, which we did."
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germay in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners will only consider 'astronomical offer' from Atletico Madrid for Santi Cazorla
Why is it that there’s no women’s team at Manchester United? - Michael Calvin
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll