Arsene Wenger and his men were all smiles after they survived a scare against Turkish giants Besiktas in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying match. Marquee summer signing Alexis Sanchez netted his first goal goal for the club, which earned his new employers a narrow 1-0 victory that saw them edge through the two-legged tie.
Wojciech Szczesny – 6
Didn’t have much to do in this game but when he was called upon he handled himself well. Was given a stupid yellow card by the referee in the second half.
Mathieu Debuchy – 6
Bit of strange one for Debuchy. Before he was sent off he was a dead on certainty for Man of the Match. He bombed down the right hand side very well, had good long-range passing and made some great last-ditch tackles too. The red card soured an otherwise stellar performance from the Frenchman.
Per Mertesacker – 7
Mertesacker looked back to his best in this game. I’m not sure if it’s because he was back with Koscielny, but he seemed much more comfortable, distributing the ball accurately and reading the game well. There were no mistakes from the big German during the 90 minutes.
Laurent Koscielny – 7
Another good game for the French centre-back. He was quick, powerful and was dogged in his pursuit of the ball. He also gave Besiktas defenders some hassle on set-pieces.
Nacho Monreal – 7
This might be the best game Monreal has ever played for Arsenal. He was solid defensively and provided some good support on the wings. Put in a lovely cross in the second half that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to convert.
Jack Wilshere – 7
Good performance from Wilshere in a game where he really needed to step-up and fill the void of Aaron Ramsey. He passed the ball well, linking up with Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain well, put in some strong challenges in the middle of the park and had some ‘Ramsey-esque’ runs into the box too. He was unlucky to not score in the first half.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7
Oxlade-Chamberlain looked very impressive on the right wing for Arsenal. He seems to have gelled with Debuchy, as they combined down the line as if they’d been playing with each for years. He did his defensive duties solidly and nearly scored a goal in the second half.
Mathieu Flamini – 7
Flamini performed his role very well tonight, energetically defending his back four for all 94 minutes. He was constantly talking, trying to get other players around him to communicate and he wasn’t afraid to dive in for a tackle too.
Santi Cazorla – 6
Not a great game from the little Spaniard, but certainly an improvement from his recent outings. In the first half he wasn’t connecting well with any of the other players and couldn’t create an opportunity for himself either. However, in the second half he seemed to get a burst of energy, defending his box exceptionally and passing the ball accurately inside the opponent’s half.