Gunners Firing Again

Picture: Getty Images/
Jack Wilshere is a key part of Arsenal's midfield. Picture: Getty Images/
Arsenal  will be looking for a third successive victory when it welcomes Fenerbache  to the Emirates for the second leg of its Champions League Playoff tie on Wednesday morning (AEST). Heavily criticised since suffering a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the Gunners have responded in the best possible way with back-to-back victories. Arsene Wenger’s men triumphed 3-0 in the first leg of the tie in Istanbul last week and have a handy buffer in the reverse fixture.

Jack Wilshere could return for the Gunners after coming off the bench in his sides 3-1 victory at Craven Cottage on the weekend, having played a key role in controlling the midfield against the 18 time Super Lig champions in Turkey seven days ago. It is hoped that defender Laurent Koscielny will be available after sustaining a head injury in the first leg, with Bacary Sagna forced to play in central defence against Fulham with Arsenal also missing captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Former Premier League stars Raul Meireles, Dirk Kuyt and Joseph Yobo will headline the team charged with overturning a three goal deficit in London, but Fenerbache are realistically only playing for pride. The Turkish club continues to fight a UEFA ban for alleged match fixing and is not assured of a place in the group stage of the competition even if they do pull off a miraculous comeback.

The last time these sides met in London, in November 2008, the match ended in a 0-0 draw at the end of 90 minutes. Fenerbache has lost five of the eight previous fixtures in European completion in England, with just one win and two draws .

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