Arsenal record easy win over Fenerbahce

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Aaron Ramsey was the man of the match last night after Arsenal beat Fenerbahçe 2-0 to confirm their place in the Champions League group phase.

Arsenal was sitting at a comfortable 3-0 lead from the first leg, in which Aaron Ramsey also scored.

This was a third consecutive victory for Arsenal after their  shocking 3-1 loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the English Premier League season.

It would have been a positive day for Arsenal if not for the hamstring injury to Lukas Podolski.

Wenger said the German would be out for around three weeks, while Ramsey went off late on with a groin complaint and Jack Wilshere also came in for some heavy treatment on his troublesome ankle.

“Overall we scored five goals and didn’t concede. We’re in the group stage and that’s what we wanted,” said the Arsenal manager, whose side host north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

“We played a heavy price on the injury front because we lost Podolski. I don’t know how bad Ramsey is. I don’t know how Wilshere responds to an ankle problem.

“He (Wilshere) looks all right. But Podolski is definitely out for 21 days and Ramsey we have to check how severe his groin is tomorrow (Wednesday).”

The first-leg result meant Fenerbahce had not travelled in hope, and they must now await the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision on their appeal against a two-year UEFA ban for match-fixing, which will be delivered on Wednesday.

“I congratulate our opponents and wish them best of luck in the Champions League,” said visiting coach Ersun Yanal.

“We created some chances in the game, but we had a difficult score in the first game.”

Arsenal had an early fright when Raul Meireles deflected Bacary Sagna’s attempted clearance back towards goal and Wojciech Szczesny had to produce a reflex save, but the tie was wrapped up inside 25 minutes.

Podolski sent Theo Walcott into the Fenerbahce box and although he was dispossessed, Caner Erkin’s sliding challenge sent the ball straight to Ramsey, who swept home from 12 yards.

Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel prevented Olivier Giroud from increasing Arsenal’s advantage with a sharp save, before Szczesny displayed his alertness at the other end by touching Emmanuel Emenike’s drive onto the post.

The aggregate scoreline robbed the game of any real drama, but there was a moment of potential significance early in the second period when Podolski had to be stretchered off with a hamstring problem.

Wenger can scarcely afford to lose more first-team players, and the appearance of sole close-season signing Yaya Sanogo from the bench only served to highlight his lack of options in the forward line.

Briefly, there was solace on the pitch.

Demirel produced a finger-tip save to deny Santi Cazorla and Walcott bent a free-kick against the crossbar, before Ramsey made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute with an insouciant side-foot volley from Kieran Gibbs’s cross.

However, he walked off the pitch and onto the substitutes’ bench in injury time, and with Podolski also out, Wenger will face renewed calls to improve his squad in the closing days of the transfer window.

Champions League play-off, second-leg results:

At Vienna
Austria Vienna (AUT) 2 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 3
(Austria Vienna win 4-3 on aggregate)

At Basel, Switzerland
Basel (SUI) 2 Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) 0
(Basel win 6-2 on aggregate)

At Warsaw
Legia Warsaw (POL) 2 Steaua Bucharest (ROM) 2
(Steaua Bucharest win on away goals rule after tie ended 3-3 on aggregate)

At Salonika, Greece
PAOK (GRE) 2 Schalke 04 (GER) 3
(Schalke 04 win 4-3 on aggregate)

At London
Arsenal (ENG) 2 Fenerbahce (TUR) 0
(Arsenal win 5-0 on aggregate)

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