Besiktas vs Arsenal Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up, Key Man + Predicted Score

By on August 19, 2014

Arsenal face a tricky test against Besiktas in the first leg of our Champions League play off at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium tonight.

A fourth placed finish in the Premier League last season means we have to once again navigate a two legged play off to reach the lucrative group stages and we were pitted against Besiktas at the draw earlier this month.

It’s the second year in succession we face Turkish opposition having beaten Fenerbache last season, so we should know that we’re in for a hostile atmosphere this evening despite playing at a ‘neutral’ ground while Besiktas’ Vodafone Arena is being redeveloped.

Slaven Bilic’s men beat Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in the third round with former Chelsea striker Demba Ba hitting a second-leg hat-trick, so it’s certainly going to be a tricky test for the boys, but we’re still considered as the odds on favourites to reach the group stages according to Wincomparator.

We didn’t play particularly well against Crystal Palace on Saturday night and fatigue is going to be a worry, but hopefully our superior quality will shine through and allow us to take a positive result back to the Emirates for the return leg next week.

Team News

Unfortunately Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring injury that he suffered early in the second half against Crystal Palace, so Nacho Monreal is in-line to start at left-back.

It looks like Laurent Koscielny is fit to play despite fears over his troublesome Achilles injury. The Frenchman trained on Monday and Arsene Wenger has left Per Mertesacker back in north London, so it looks like Koscielny will take his place alongside Calum Chambers at the back.

Yaya Sanogo didn’t make the trip due to a hamstring issue so Olivier Giroud is expected to start up front. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be drafted in to the starting eleven to freshen things up after making a difference off the bench on Saturday.

Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski remain unavailable as they work their way back to full fitness after arriving back late from their World Cup exploits. Theo Walcott is also still out.

Likely Line-Up

Key Man

Aaron Ramsey: The Welshman showed his importance once again with a last minute winner on Saturday and we’ll be looking to him for inspiration tonight.

Predicted Score

Besiktas 1-2 Arsenal: It’s going to be a nervy night and Besiktas are a dangerous side, but I think we’ll come away with a narrow win to set us up for the return leg next week.

What team would you go with and what’s your predicted score? Share your views below.

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