Arsenal will be hopeful that last season’s hard work doesn’t go to waste as they take on Fenerbahce at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey today at 2:45pm ET (for viewers in the United States, the match will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 and FOXSoccer2Go). Arsene Wenger has called for a big performance in the UEFA Champions League play-off game as he aims to take pressure off the club and its players due to a disappointing start this past weekend.
The Gunners’ bid to finish in the top four last term went right down to the final day of the season when a 1-0 win at Newcastle ensured they went into the hat for the Champions League play-offs. Now, only Fenerbahce stand between Arsenal and a place in European football’s premier competition.
Wenger admitted his side can’t afford any slip-ups.
“We fought very hard last season to be in the top four and this game has a vital importance,
“On the back of our defeat against Aston Villa, it’s important as well to bounce back straight away.”
Arsenal have been handed a number of fitness boosts ahead of the match. Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshire and Tomas Rosicky all trained on Tuesday morning.
However, England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the game after his knee injury has ruled him out for at least six weeks.
For Fenerbahce, the familiar face of Dirk Kuyt will greet viewers. Fenerbahce will select their strongest team, which they’re unable to do in the Turkish Super League due to a rule being introduced that limits sides to six foreign players.
The Turkish side also suffered an opening day defeat as they lost 3-2 despite having taken a two-goal lead against Konyaspor on Saturday.
Editor’s note: FOXSoccer2Go is currently offering a free trial, so if you live in the United States, you can watch the game live and online for free today. The match kicks off at 2:45pm ET.