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Arsenal draw Fenerbahce in Champions League qualifier

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Arsenal go to Turkey to determine whether they get to play in the real Champions League.

Fenerbahce. So hot right now. Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce. So hot right now. Fenerbahce.
Harold Cunningham

As drawn this morning, Arsenal will play Fenerbahce for qualification to the group stage of the Champions League. The first leg will be played in Turkey on August 21, with the return match played on August 27 at the Emirates Stadium.

Interestingly, Fenerbahce was just given a 24-month ban from playing in Europe, because of involvement in a match-fixing scandal in Turkey - but the ban has been suspended temporarily, which will evidently allow them to participate in this round of the competition. I don't know what happens if they win, and I don't know whether the ban could be un-suspended between now and when we play. So there's even a fun bit of "who the hell knows what's going on" in our Champions League draw, which I know is a thing that we all really wanted.

Fenerbahce, or "The Fightin' Fens," as nobody has ever called them, finished as runners-up in last year's Süper Lig, ten points behind champions Galatasaray. We saw them last weekend, so I guess just assume Fener are that, but ten points worse. They have a few players you've probably heard of - Dirk Kuyt, who you may remember from this; Raul Meireles, and Moussa Sow, for example. They're unlikely to be pushovers, but even as it stands right now Arsenal should be the better team, and should be able to win this tie.