Tuesday, 20 August 2013

What a mess...Fenerbahce (A)

Where to start following Saturdays utter disaster of an opening day. We took on a Villa side with a thin squad and after 90 minutes we'd lost 3-1 and have picked up a handful of injuries and now we're in real trouble. 

To start with the referee was appalling from start to finish but that's not why we lost we just weren't good enough. Some truly baffling decisions from our players which cost us dearly, the need for a keeper is evident after that performance from the young Pole. The moment where he came tearing out and attempt to clear the ball is still giving me nightmares.

Exactly what we feared has happened though, a thing squad made thinner due to injuries in the first game. News tonight is the OX could be out for 6 months and some reports suggesting the whole season. Sagna's fall was nasty and Ramsey is a big doubt. The game tomorrow is a qualifier for the Champions League and if we don't beat Fenerbahce then all the work last season will be irrelevant and again Wenger's decision not to spend has cost us.

It's all well and good getting rid of deadwood but replacing them is just as important although now even if we sign 3 players tomorrow none will be eligible for tomorrow night's game. We've left it very, very late to make signings and if we don't I wouldn't back us to make top 7 let alone challenge for anything. I said before the season this was Arsene's make or break season, everybody trapped off about our money and if he didn't spend the blame would lie squarely with him and at the moment this is looking like a break season. I sat and read the letter from the BSM to Gazidis and struggled to disagree with any of it and many supporters are the same.

Well on to Fenerbahce who will be no pushover, especially in Turkey. Anybody who knows anything about Turkish football will know just how hostile the atmosphere will be especially in a big tie like this. If we can escape tonight with the scoreline in tact then hopefully we can do the business at the Emirates in a weeks time. Now there is an investigation into match fixing allegations against Fenerbahce but the decision is not due until next Wednesday and even then when don't know what will happen, if we do our job it won't matter what happens.

Now I don't know much about our Turkish opponents other than they're a hard hitting team and they will pull no punches. If we play sloppily or give them too many chances they will punish us. Quite what sort of team we'll send out will be any body's guess following the loss of nearly 5 players against Villa.

As I'm writing this Sky Sports News have confirmed that Wilshere, Rosicky, Sagna, Gibbs and Ramsey have all taken part in our training before we fly out to Istanbul tonight. That is at least some good news. Based on that my guess would be: SZCZ, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Sagna, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcott, Cazorla/Podolski, Giroud. This match might come too early for Cazorla who was clearly shattered after his trip to Ecuador the other week and should never have been on the pitch at the weekend.

I honestly am worried about tomorrow night, we need to keep it tight, shipping 2 or 3 goals will render all of last seasons hard work for fourth irrelevant. We just have to hope the players are up for it but I'm not so sure.

Prediction: Fenerbahce 2-1 Arsenal