Arsenal vs. Besiktas
UEFA Champions League Play Off, Second Leg
Emirates Stadium, Islington, London
Wednesday, August 27 11.45 PT/2.45 ET/7.45 BT
US TV: Fox Sports 1 | Worldwide listings at livesoccer.tv
Here we are, playing the second leg of the consequence of finishing fourth. Much has changed since last week, most notably Olivier Giroud's foot, which changed from fixed to not-fixed. We still don't know the extent of the not-fixed, but it doesn't look good; best case, a few weeks, more realistic case, ugh.
This tie sits at a very awkward 0-0 after last week, which means that Arsenal will need to defend a whole lot better than they have done so far this season in the league; Besiktas aren't the team that Everton is, sure, but Arsenal can't afford to be chasing a game like this, so hopefully things stay nice and tight at the back and Arsenal can find some way of producing offense that doesn't pass through Olivier Giroud.
Aaron Ramsey also sits this one out after deciding he didn't have enough yellow cards in his life; Mikel Arteta is still recovering and will play no part either. As for Besiktas, they still haven't started their season, so they're well rested and in good shape, and will probably put out much the same side that held Arsenal scoreless last week.
So in short, Arsenal need to press, need to score first, but need to be wary of that pressing leaving their midfield too high and exposed to snuff out a counterattack. No problem! Sanogo will probably get a start up front, so hopefully the experience in the midfield will help him out, because as much as I rate Sanogo as one for the future, I'm not sure the future is today or tomorrow. But, as many a wise man(ager) has said, if you're good enough you're old enough.
This is one of those "must win" games. I usually hate that cliche - does a team ever take the pitch to not win? - but in this case it's true. So go win, already.