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Arsenal to play Beşiktaş in Champions League draw

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For the second straight season, Arsenal will travel to Istanbul.

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Arsenal have been drawn to play Turkish side Beşiktaş in the Champions League play-off. It is the second straight summer that Arsenal will travel to Turkey for the Champions League play-off, after comfortably dispatching Fenerbahce 5-0 last year. Besiktas finished third in the Turkish Süper Lig, twelve points behind winners Fenerbahce. They should actually be in the draw for the Europa League, but Fenerbahce are barred from European competition. Notable players in their squad include former Chelsea striker Demba Ba, former Arsenal youth player Oğuzhan Özyakup and American international Jermaine Jones.

Besiktas are certainly an easier proposition than some of the other possibilities, most notably Athletic Bilbao, who were drawn against Napoli, or Lille, who will face Porto. Arsenal should beat them over two legs and have been in this play-off many times before. The one downside is the long journey for the away leg before a difficult trip to Everton, but with that on Tuesday the 19th, that should be somewhat alleviated. The home leg will be played on Wednesday the 27th.