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Arsenal vs. Galatasaray: Match Preview

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The final game in the Champions League group stages has Arsenal traveling to Istanbul to play in front of some spirited fans.

Galatasaray fans, being classy at the Emirates back in October.
Galatasaray fans, being classy at the Emirates back in October.
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Galatasaray
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday, Dec 9 2014 11.45 PT/2.45 ET/7.45 BT/9.45 CET
Turk Telecom Arena, Istanbul
US TV: Various regional Fox affiliates, probably (and replayed on various Fox Soccer channels later in the day) | Worldwide TV info: livesoccer.tv

Forget (or try to forget) that Arsenal played like hot garbage this past weekend, because there's Champions League action afoot!

Albeit, it's action that looks like it'll require Fox Soccer 2 Go to view live, because someone in Fox Sports programming thinks that the entire Group B slate of games (Liverpool v. Basel and Real Madrid v. Ludogorets) are more engaging. (Though I'm sure they'll still be happy to talk up Arsenal in the pre-game.)

(Note: Some of you might be getting it on regional channels; feel free to post to the comments for your part of the world if you can find it on your magic flatscreen.)

The good news is that, by virtue of Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Dortmund in the previous Champions League match -- remember how good they looked then? --  Arsenal has already qualified for the Round of 16. In fact, most of the Group D business is settled: Anderlecht has already punched its ticket to the Europa League, and Galatasaray can resume its focus on the SporToto Super Lig, where they're currently second in the table behind Besiktas.

There's only one thing left to settle, in fact -- the little matter of who wins the group. The easy path for Arsenal to win is to beat Galatasaray and hope that Anderlecht can get a road win against Dortmund. If Anderlecht and Dortmund tie, Dortmund wins the group unless Arsenal can overcome a goal differential of six. Any other scenario slots Arsenal into a Round of 16 matchup with a group winner. In case you haven't looked lately: Atletico is the likely Group A winner, Real Madrid has already wrapped up Group B, Bayer 04 Leverkusen is the probable Group C winner (though there's a path for being-sold-for-parts Monaco to win it), Bayern Munich has clinched Group E, PSG only need a draw to win Group F (putting Barcelona into second), Group G isn't a concern for Arsenal since Chelsea's won that, and Porto (of January transfer window fame) has won Group H.

According to a press conference over the weekend, several key Arsenal players, including the slowly-recovering Laurent Koscielny and the in-the-red-zone-of-fitness Alexis Sanchez, won't be making the trip to Turkey.

Oh, also, because it's in Istanbul, this is required viewing. Looks fun!