Post-Match Report

Arsenal 2-0 Fenerbahce (5-0 agg): Report

13/14: Arsenal 2-0 Fenerbahce - Aaron Ramsey
Emirates Stadium
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League
  Arsenal
      
                  Ramsey (25'
                   72')
            
   crest
Arsenal
Ramsey (25'
72')
2 0
  Fenerbahce
   crest
Fenerbahce

Arsenal will play in the Group Stages of the Champions League for the 16th successive season.

Arsène Wenger’s side take their place among Europe’s elite after a 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbahce in the play-off.

They came back from Turkey with a 3-0 advantage in the first game and, on Tuesday, completed the job with a 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium.

Aaron Ramsey struck midway through the first half to quash any chance of a Fenerbahce comeback.

The visitors would have their moments but Arsenal always looked the more dangerous side.

When Ramsey volleyed home a second 18 minutes from time, Arsenal’s passage was secured.

The only downside to the evening was the sight of Lukas Podolski being stretchered off at the start of the second half. Ramsey also went off in the last few minutes and, with all the substitutes having been used, the home side ended with 10 men.

However they were the only blemishes on a good night for Arsenal.

They maintained their 100 per cent record in Champions League qualifiers – 12 games, 12 wins – and also racked up a third victory inside seven days.

Suddenly that defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season looks more and more like a distant memory.

Before kick-off, Wenger selected a side showing two changes from Saturday’s 3-1 win at Fulham.

Nacho Monreal started a game for the first time this season and so Kieran Gibbs dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile Jack Wilshere, rested at the weekend, replaced Tomas Rosicky.

This was as near to first-choice as made no difference, the manager was clearly trying to bolt down qualification.

You sensed an early goal for Arsenal would seal it but a few butterflies might begin if Fenerbahce found the net in the opening stages – and very they nearly did.

Carl Jenkinson was robbed in midfield and Fenerbahce countered. A desperate clearance from Bacary Sagna hit Raul Meireles and bounced back towards the top corner. Wojciech Szczesny threw up a hand to bat the ball away.

The effort sparked life into Arsenal. Theo Walcott’s drive was saved by Volkan Demirel and then Olivier Giroud curled an effort just wide.

In the 25th minute, Arsenal would finally find a goal. Podolski drove forward and, in denying Walcott, Caner Erkin slid the ball to Ramsey, who slotted home.

The home side now had total control. Giroud and Cazorla were denied and, as half-time approached, Arsenal were pressing for a second.

Not that Fenerbahce had given up the game. Bruno Alves curled a free-kick just over the bar and, six minutes from the whistle, Emmanuel Emenike fooled Sagna and raced forward only for Szczesny to make a sharp save at the near post.

The visitors would force another fine block from the keeper before the break and rattle the woodwork too. But neither would have counted as the former chance was offside.

Despite that, at half-time, Arsenal had everything they needed and seemed content to cruise home.

That plan was dented somewhat by the loss of Podolski four minutes after the restart. The German went down clutching what appeared to be his hamstring and was stretchered off. Gibbs replaced him on the left of midfield.

On the hour, Wenger would swap Yaya Sanogo for Giroud.

It seemed that the Frenchman was already looking towards Sunday’s North London derby.

His side, on the other hand, were looking to add to their total.

Cazorla’s cross-shot was superbly tipped away by Demirel then Walcott fizzed a free-kick against the bar.

Fenerbahce manager Ersun Yanal threw on attackers Pierre Webo and Alper Potuk in hope. It would soon be extinguished.

A lovely left-sided move ended with Gibbs crossing for Ramsey to shepherd a volley into the far corner.

That made it four goals from the Welshman in four games against Fenerbahce.

The contest was over now, although Demirel would make a fine stop from Jenkinson in injury time.

Ramsey’s late exit and Podolski’s early one may give Wenger some headaches.

Otherwise this was an important job done well.

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP)
Attendance: 56271

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