Arsenal 1 (Sanchez 45) – Besiktas 0
Man of the Match- Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Arsenal made it to the group stages of the Champions League for a 17th successive year, after edging Slaven Bilic’s Besiktas 1-0, on a tense evening of football at the Emirates.
With Aaron Ramsey suspended, Jack Wilshere started in midfield, and was central to Arsenal’s play. Alexis put in a tireless shift, justifying the £35 million the Gunners decided to pay Barcelona for his services. There was bad news before the match, as Olivier Giroud was ruled out until the new year, after fracturing his tibia in the dying moments against Everton.
Arsenal had a bright start, with Wilshere’s drive going wide, before Cazorla failed to take full advantage of a wayward clearance from Togla Zengin. Besiktas, however, were in North London for business, and looked sturdy in defense and composed in attack. They should have had two penalties when, first Mathieu Debuchy slid in on Mustafa Pektemek and then Wilshere accidentally took down Besiktas left back Ramon Motta. Arsenal took the lead on the stroke of half-time, when Wilshere’s persistence saw him drive into the box, to set up Sanchez for an angled finish.
Wilshere almost assisted Sanchez early in the second half, but the Chilean’s effort deflected wide. Chances kept coming on both ends, with Demba Ba striking the side net having skilfully turned in the box, before Debuchy’s header went wide, and Chamberlain’s close range shot being blocked by Zengin. Debuchy was harshly given a second yellow for a challenge on Pektemek when replays clearly showed the Frenchman had gotten the ball first. Besiktas failed to make use of the numerical advantage, as the Gunners sneaked into the group draw of the Champions League for the 17th year.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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