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.
Mesut Ozil – 5
It’s well known that Ozil may not be back to peak physical fitness yet but even he’ll be disappointed with his performance tonight. His passing was wayward and couldn’t seem to connect with Sanchez, who was making some good runs and it felt like he was barely in the game sometimes.
Alexis Sanchez – 8 (Man of the Match)
Alexis played his best game in his short Arsenal career, relentlessly hounding defenders, using his skills to take it past the Besiktas’ players and doing some good defending work too. He scored the winning goal that will now take Arsenal through to the Champions League group stages.
Calum Chambers – 6
Replaced Ozil after Debuchy was sent off, slotting into the right-back position. Defended very well and nearly created a goal too. Received a comical yellow card for coming onto the pitch before the referee signalled him on.
Tolga Zengin – 6
Despite letting in a relatively tame effort from Alexis, the goalkeeper looked good tonight, blocking some decent efforts from Oxlade-Chamberlain. He seemed to pick up a thigh injury near the end of the game.
Ismail Koybasi – 6
Koybasi did pretty well at right-back, negating Ozil and breaking down any attacks Arsenal sent down that side of the pitch. He also provided some good width which kept Nacho Monreal honest during the game.
Pedro Franco – 6
Franco had a decent game at centre-back. He was able block off most attacks before they got to the goalmouth and was quick on his feet. The Colombian also wasn’t afraid to throw his body in front of the ball on a number of occasions.
Ersan Gulum – 7
Despite a silly challenge that got him a yellow card, Gulum was defensively sound in this game. He could’ve probably done better for the Alexis goal, but besides that he put in a solid shift in defence.
Ramon Motta – 6
In the first half, Motta had a good battle with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but as the night wore on and Alexis started to drift over to the left he started to get more and more overwhelmed. He didn’t finish the night very well.
Probably the best player on the pitch for Besiktas tonight. He battled manfully in the midfield, hunting down the ball and passing it on to the more creative players. He was also hard in the tackle and had an enthralling tussle with Jack Wilshere all night.
Veli Kavlak – 5
Disappointing game from Kavlak. He clearly tried to get involved but things didn’t seem to go his way much and besides from a few decent passes he wasn’t able to help his team penetrate Arsenal’s final third.
Mustafa Pektemek – 5
Much like Kavlak he was barely in the game. He did put in some good tackles, but otherwise he was chasing the likes of Wilshere and Cazorla for the most part.
Oğuzhan Ozyakup – 7
The former Arsenal man was an absolute livewire tonight, providing the main creative spark in Besiktas’ attack. He provided some great direct running, made some lovely passes and combined well with Demba Ba. He was unlucky to be on the losing side.
Olcay Sahan – 6
Besides from some good runs into the box and decent passes, Sahan wasn’t quite as dangerous as Besiktas’ fans hoped he’d be. He also put in some good crosses but he would’ve hoped to trouble the Arsenal defence a bit more.
Demba Ba – 7
Although he wasn’t quite as dangerous as he was in the first game, Ba still provided a big threat up front. He was good in the air, fast on the feet and could’ve got himself a few goals tonight if he’d brought his shooting boots.
Gokhan Tore – 6
Had a decent impact when he came on just after the hour mark. Great direct running and caused Arsenal some last-minute trouble with his pace and power.
Necip Uysal – 4
Brought on in with 13 minutes, plus added time remaining and was very subdued.
Cenk Tosun – 3
Was brought on in the 87th minute, and didn’t have ample time to make an impact on the contest.
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