Ramsey Thrives In Arsenal’s Turkish Delight


Fenerbahçe 0 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 Gibbs (51)
0 – 2 Ramsey (64)
0 – 3 Giroud (78 pen)

Well, it was either that or some pun revolving around turkey basting.

Having talked the talk, Fenerbahçe found Arsenal in no mood to let them walk all over them and spared Uefa’s blushes in Istanbul last night. With three away goals, the outcome of the CAS appeal for the Turks looks increasingly irrelevant to this season’s Champions League.

It was a straightforward victory, borne of hard work, honest endeavour and superior technique, encapsulated in Aaron Ramsey’s Man of the Match performance that was rounded off with his richly deserved goal. Arsenal dominated proceedings from kick-off and suppressed their hosts to the extent that it took nearly half an hour for Wojciech Szczesny to be called into meaningful action.

Despite dominating proceedings, Arsenal could fashion few clear cut openings in the first half and when they did, Demirel was on hand to smother them. Giroud, Walcott and Ramsey all peppered the goal with efforts but missed the target. As the visitors continued to control the match, Arsène Wenger’s plans were disrupted when Laurent Koscielny suffered a head injury – described by Colin Lewin as one of the worst he had ever seen – when Webo’s boot connected with the French defender. Unintentional and highly dangerous play but the silver lining came with Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker getting an hour or so in each other’s company ahead of Saturday’s visit to Craven Cottage. That the pair were relatively untroubled in that time was a mark of how well the pair and the midfield ahead of them were playing.

As the second half began, Fenerbahçe began to assert themselves with Kuyt sending a shot over the bar. It proved to be a false dawn as Arsenal took a deserved lead minutes later. Eschewing the opportunity to panic and shoot in haste, Ramsey fed the ball to Walcott whose drilled his cross into the path of Kieran Gibbs, the left back firing the ball into the roof of the net from six yards out. The goal was just reward for the first half performance. Walcott almost doubled the lead minutes later, Demirel was up to the task.

The Turks responded and echoes of the past resonated when Szczesny confronted Sow bravely, studs raking down the goalkeepers neck. It was the sort of wound that Bob Wilson often risked with his bravery during his spell as Arsenal’s custodian. The Pole played on and minutes later, Wilshere drew a good save from Demirel. It was a brief respite as Ramsey received his just reward by firing in Arsenal’s second, having strolled through the home side’s midfield unchallenged. It was a carbon copy of Cesc’s strike in Milan and sealed victory.

Sow almost gave his side a foothold in the tie but headed over when he should have done better and the second leg became almost academic when Walcott was shoved to the ground, Giroud’s penalty into the top corner giving Arsenal three away goals to take back to The Emirates with a thoroughly deserved victory. Little wonder that the manager was pleased post-match, enjoying the moment. Clouds were soon on the horizon with the talk turning to transfers, the lack of activity and failure to land Luis Suarez but that can wait for another day. Today is about enjoying a good performance, one that does not solve any of the problems which already existed beyond making next week’s second leg more straightforward but equally, none of them have got worse. Looking at it from a team perspective, Laurent Koscielny’s injury isn’t going to cause problems for the weekend as his suspension keeps him out of the trip to Craven Cottage anyway. No further injuries were picked up which is a positive because the bench last night highlighted the problems Wenger has.

The performance offers no more of a guide to how the season will progress than Saturday’s defeat. It offers reassurance in some respects that the form of late last season can be drawn upon but until that resurfaces consistently, nothing can be assumed either way. Let’s not forget either that Fenerbahçe were distinctly ordinary opposition and whilst the atmosphere was loud, it seemed that a sign welcoming Arsenal to Hull rather than Hell was more appropriate. The home side were definitely afraid of their visitors, who knows perhaps more wary than normal because of the result against Aston Villa. That is not to take anything away from Arsenal. They controlled the game, showed good technique in retaining possession for long spells and thoroughly deserved their win. Indeed, their performance would have significantly contributed to the paucity of Fenerbahçe’s, depriving them of the ball and stopping them from building momentum; everything that Per Mertesacker spoke about before the game, the players did and they deserve credit for that.

Arsenal are in control of the tie and whilst it may be complacent to presume that they have negotiated this hurdle, on the basis of yesterday it is very difficult indeed to see any other outcome from this qualifying round.

’til Tomorrow.

286 thoughts on “Ramsey Thrives In Arsenal’s Turkish Delight

  1. I still think we should sign another central defender.;)
    It looks like Man City is short on central defenders as well. maybe they miss Kolo.
    I still wish Arsene had signed Kolo, we obviously could use him. He was available on a free, speaks French, we have someone named Yaya on our squad…
    I like how Sir Alex Purplepussface keeps savvy vets on the squad to show the young’uns what it means to be a professional. Perhaps that was lacking with us and lead to the Bendtners and Chamakhs happily earning a wage for little back in return. Kolo was an Invincible, he couod provide leadership on top of what he contributed on the field. He’s performing the Jamie Carragher savvy veteran role who took over from Sammy Hypia.
    Was there a fall out between Arsene and Kolo? Was Kolo part of an unwanted clique that included Adebayor?

  2. @Bill

    I’m sorry, I know you said it in jest; at least I hope so. I try to be pretty balanced, though I do like to follow the younger lads through their careers as well as the seniors. But, I’m not always me when I’m hungry 🙂 (really hope you have seen those ads or that won’t make a lick of sense).

  3. @Lime & C

    You know recently we have been talking up or about Gonalons, we were told he was unavailable. The result Lyon had against Real Sociedad at their home creates a very difficult encounter on the road to get qualification now. Perhaps this is the time to step in once again and politely enquire? The French league is being crippled by this 75% tax of player wages and Lyon like everyone else outside Monaco. The French ligue as a history of developing players through their youth ranks, perhaps then this may be an apt time to call Mr Garde and offer 15M, thoughts?

    Lime, you mentioned that Gonalons wasn’t overly impressive against Real Sociedad and that is true. But, I watched the game again last evening, the wife was working on her latest cyborg costume after all. In any case, what struck me was how he was simply be asked to do to much, be the lynch pin in defense and a catalyst when in advanced positions. I still rate this guy very highly.

  4. Miami

    Nice idea and I don’t disagree. He would be cup tied for Europe now thougb, for the rest of the season, no?

  5. Limestone.

    We have had 7 -8 years of arsene not using the resources available to him in a way that maximizes our chances to be successful on the pitch. In the first part of his tenure he seemed perfectly willing to spend the money he had and although his methods were unconventional, he was brilliant and he spent the money he had

    Arsene was always conservative before the stadium but for lack of a better term he was never miserly. Something changed and he seems to have gone way past the point of frugality. The same “stubborn streak” that he has shown with the money seems to have taken over his tactics and his field management. This sort of thing has happened to lots of great managers over the years very few can maintain world class performance at the same team for long periods of time. I suspect its part of human nature. The end of an era syndrome. I really hope he decides to retire after this season


    You know that all of this is in good spirit and good fun. I honestly don’t take anything anyone says about me seriously even when they compare me to one of my favorite parts of the female anatomy. It’s just a sports, not real life and its just a sports blog, and my opinion along with $6 will buy a quad grande skinny hazelnut latte in Starbucks.

  6. @Damon,

    I guessing he would be, but after the qualifier we have time for Arteta to get back to help. I read he is 4 weeks away, or there about. I really do think we could test Lyon’s resolve, because CL qualification looks anything but a sure thing for them.

    UEFA Rule


    As a rule, a player may not play in a UEFA club competition (i.e. UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, but not UEFA Super Cup) for more than one club in the course of the same season. Exceptionally, however, a player who has been fielded in the first, second, third qualifying round or the play-offs of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League is entitled to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League for another club as from the group stage

    So, no he would not be cup tied.

  7. @MA

    O icompletely agree with you, if there was ever a time it would be now to get Gonalos. I say just throw 20M to be safe but i have felt he was perfect for Arsenal. Plus its World Cup year and he will be wanting to play in the CL. I have always wanted him no doubr.

    I agree they ask him to be their everything. What makes him such a brilliant player and why i rate him o highly is because he does both so brilliantly and makes it look easy with a tremendous work rate. If he comes here, sit him next to any of Jack, Santi, Mozart, Ramsey or Arteta and he will instantly make their job easier and make them better.

  8. does anyone know what the deal with the Schalke rumours with poldi he had a very good first season a seasoned international yet we can’t find a place for him in our starting lineup wenger surely has to give him assurances over playing time.

  9. Not that I know Anelka, but I’ve read that his attitude improved several years ago after he discovered Islam.

  10. Wenger said: “Quality-wise we don’t need anybody but number-wise we are short, as I told you. We lost Chamberlain, Arteta and Diaby who is out — three international midfielders.”

    Oh boy. He’s bringing up Diaby again.

  11. “Quality-wise we don’t need anybody but number-wise we are short,”
    So does that mean whoever we buy will lack quality? 😉

  12. “Busch
    August 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm
    Wenger said: “Quality-wise we don’t need anybody but number-wise we are short, as I told you. We lost Chamberlain, Arteta and Diaby who is out — three international midfielders.”

    He must be completely ignoring the evidence from the league tables from last year and honestly believes what he is saying. Alternatively, he does not really care about a title challenge or he just enjoys winding us up. None of those is a good option but I guess the former is the most palatable.

    We have a profit of around 10M so we can afford 1player in the 10-15 M range and still come out of the summer about even. adding 1 midfielder would hold us until arteta, Ox and Diaby return.

    I suspect he really does not think we are short enough in defense, striker or the wide attacking spots to require reinforcements in those positions.

    I will be surprised is we bring in anyone besides Cabaye or someone similar in skill set and price. A huge bargain or someone on the free is probably the only thing that might tempt him to do more, and that only depends on how much the midfielder costs.

  13. hmmm means Spurs can rest even more players than us for the return match if they keep this up.
    Dinamo tiblisi must be utter shit.

  14. I guess the other alternative is that arsene feels that continuing to follow his pattern of resource allocation is the single highest priority item on the agenda and although he does not really believe we have a realistic chance of a title he knows the firestorm admitting that in public would create.

    Again, I hope for the first alternative but I honestly suspect that the real reason is multi factorial

  15. We would never sell a player to spurs. No chance of that. Unlike ManU, Spurs are actually a rival for our table position. I don’t think we will sell Podolski this window but if we do there has to be other teams that would pay close to as much as spurs would be able to offer. No???

  16. You know we can dislike players in other clubs as much as we want. but the minute he plays for Arsenal we need to support them. Even Adebayor and Bendtner should they ever walk the Emirates grass for us again.

    So also Flamini 🙂 even though he was a jerk. Somehow i thought Flamini and Cesc were best mates back int he day no?

  17. oh i see why we are signing Flamini. if Wilshere suffered a “knock” on his ankle and might be rested on Saturday, we need someone els in there no? Flamini is a decent player, knows the club, knows many of the player and will glide right in.

  18. Flamini..Really? That’s our summer signing is it. Two free transfers.

    I’m starting to believe he’s not going to spend unless he sells Pod or something. Same old same old

  19. dear lord, Wenger is going to rub salt in our wounds.. Fuck flamoney. this is a joke right??

    after our players put pride back in our club with a great performance last night Wenger will be ripping it up again, our players deserve more then what the regime are offering. piss off.

  20. Philmar –
    Alas, Kolo disgraced himself in a mendacious and salacious, and, frankly weird manner. Would you, truly, buy a used-car from the man?
    Still, it would be nice to see the old rogue in the shirt again, and Flamini too. Just lots of shiny new faces please.
    Also, when are we going to start calling Aaron “Rambo” again? Deserves a name like that.

  21. Nice thing about flamini is that he has plenty of experience playing R or L fullback. he played right for milan and he was awesome as an emergency LB for us in 06. This would allow sagna to move to CB for as long as needed and then we have a reasonable back up for jenks at RB. If we somehow lose another CB then jenks can move to CB. Imagine if BFG twisted an ankle and we could have a back line of flamini jenks sagna and Gibbs. Hopefully we sign flamini soon so he can go to craven cottage.

  22. All kidding aside, I was a huge fan of what Flamini brought to the club and its a good idea to sign him if he still has anything like that left. Yossi Benayoun was brilliant a couple of seasons ago and this has the potential to be very hepful, and it does not hurt that it is cost free so we still have 10M in profit left to work with before sept 2

  23. We would never sell a player to spurs. No chance of that
    It would be good business to sell a cancerous player to them…someone of the ilk of Adebayor. And to think they also bought another of our cancers: Bentley. i think we even got part of a sell-on fee for that brilliant piece of business. I therefore propose to you that we could sell to them, imagine how happy we’d be if we could sell them Bendtner? 😉

  24. Alas, Kolo disgraced himself in a mendacious and salacious, and, frankly weird manner
    Sincere question poneyboy
    How so? Are you referring to the failed drug test?

  25. where is Hleb?? can we drag him out of some bar somewhere.
    Yes, but as he’s Belarusian he’ll put up a big fight 😉

  26. Shitbags. If I saw Wenger I’d do my best puppy dog look and ask “Does this mean no Cabaye mister Arsene sir?”.

  27. Instead of re-signing a pretty average player, just because he has been training with us……why don’t we just go and fucking buy a decent midfielder??? And before everybody bangs on about how great he was….he wasn’t. He played well for six months when he was after a new contract/in the shop window. He was beyond average until then. Which is exactly what he did at Marseilles and exactly what he did at Milan.

    If it turns out, that he is signing just to make up the numbers in a addition to another quality midfielder signing, then fine. If we sign him and then don’t get anybody else in the position, then our recruitment process is more fucked than I thought it was two days ago. And that is going some.

  28. so everyone thought it was Cavani that was the cataclyst for this window but it turns out to be Bale? Ones he goes to Real, all the pieces will fall into place? We will see i guess 🙂 Kinda means that indirectly Tottenham has held the key to this entire window.

  29. @goonerandy i think Flamini will be this years Benayon. Someone to make up the numbers. lol. But benayon was very handy in “smaller” matches etc.

    Bet flamini will be to. Him or Barry, who would you prefer? I bet it was between those two anyway …

  30. poodle – I would prefer you to Barry 😉

    As I said, if we still add quality to the midfield, fair enough. He will only be cover anyway. But to sign him and nobody else is just baffling. AW has obviously identified we need a midfielder. Just go and get a very good one in that case.

    I share you confusion with Podolski as well mate. I would like to see him get time. he is the best finisher at the club by a distance.

  31. I dont know if City would bevwilling to help us but if we got Barry and Micah Richards on loan and flamini on the free it would fill up the midfield and the defense and still leave enough money left over a player with a skill set like Nani. Right now our back up wide forwards are Ryo and Gnarby. Hopefully they will be good for the future but we need someone until Ox is back and even then we should probably have another experienced wide player in the squad.

  32. Bill – I dont know if City would bevwilling to help us but if we got Barry and Micah Richards on loan and flamini on the free it would fill up the midfield and the defense and still leave enough money left over a player with a skill set like Nani.

    That would be fucking awful. Flamini, Barry and Nani in our squad. Two are complete shite and one is a show pony. I don’t mind Richards as it goes, he would be decent.

  33. poodle – Come on……this is not part of some sort of master plan. Loads (Most in fact) of clubs have been active without the Bale thing going through.

  34. Harry:

    I didn’t say Nani, but someone with a skill set like his would be useful.

    Barry we have been linked with and in truth I think he would offer more then Flamini but his wage would be a huge impediment and I am not sure if City would sell or loan him to us.

    The only one that required a cloud of hallucinogenic smoke to dream up was Micah Richards.

  35. jeezes this game just plays out perfect. Suarez goes to Real and we get Benzema and DiMaria. Wow the only big looser here is Liverpool cos they have clung onto Suarez so long and been so stubborn that when he finally leaves they have failed to replace him.

    Liverpool live in the past. Thinking their name and history is enough to keep good players, when in reality anyone good enough jumps ship the minute they got the chance. Gerrard will be the last big player at Anfield. when he retires, they are all gone…

  36. the best thing is that Liverpool has created this chaos all by themselves, they could hav sold for 40M in June and had time to replace. now they sell for 55(which is better) but their season will be ruined.

  37. If we are really signing Flamini???? and it’s for cover only, then that’s fine, another squad member, no more no less. However if he’s signed and we then don’t sign a quality midfielder I think Arsene has just hammered another nail into his coffin.

  38. How depressing and frustrating has this transfer window been? I am going on a road trip to Cornwall on Tuesday and won’t be back until after the window has shut. I may just (try to) forget all about it and just check what we have done/no done when I get back. I may be less painful.

    However, if Gareth Barry is in the squad when I do check, I may just get back in my van, drive back down to Lands End, and jump into the Atlantic.

  39. Can I join you Andy?

    You little tinker Bill. Don’t backtrack 😉

    Hands up, who’d never even heard of Will I am up until all this?

    Only me then. Liars.

  40. @goonerandy go to cornwall, eat cream and go surfing! turn off your computer and dont listen to the news.

    Would be exciting to see what has changed /if anything changes when you get back.

    Maybe you leave in misery and when you get back AW has bought you a little prezzie?

    You should leave your predictions with us before you go though and we can compare them to reality when you re back 🙂

    oh and go surf! its fun ^^

  41. I think if Arsene were to sign Gareth Barry half of ACLF might join us in jumping orf Lands End.

    Bob might decide to stay in Crete.

  42. Harry – If you are buying the beer, jump on in. Not what Mrs goonerandy would make of that though 🙂

    Poodle – OK Dokey. I predict we will sign a two or three mid price players. I will be surprised if we break the £20M mark, put it that way. I thought we would definitely get Cabaye, but am not sure now it seems we are re-signing Flamini.

    I am not sure what will happen on the striking front. I don’t believe we won’t sign a striker….I just can’t believe even AW at his most stubborn cannot see the need for one. But I have no idea who.

  43. Andy

    If we keep Podolski we have 2 full fledged top class internationals and the leading scorer at the U21 tournament this year. I am asking seriously, do you really think arsene would consider another experienced striker with those assets already on board?

  44. last season when we considered Podolski a wide left player and theo had never played centrally and no one had heard of sonogo. What we have now is a cornucopia of striking assets compared to last season

  45. Flamini? He’s super super duper world class target!

    Barry? Why he is a fountain of over flowing talent!

    These players definately are better than what we have!

    In fact they are so super duper world class, Arsene has gone and got them on the cheap!

    Shrewd man, getting world class players on a free and cheap.

    (joins in line to jump into Atlantic)

  46. Bill

    Or, we have our main striker who is a decent player, but not much more. Certainly not clinical. Another player with a good scoring record, but who AW does not seems to trust in the main striking position. Our other striker is a 20 year old who’s professional career consists on 21 appearances in the French 2nd division.

    Do you see any of those players getting 20 league goals? If the answer is no, then we really need to be looking at another striker.

  47. Bill,
    Currently, we have the same striking assets as last season, plus an untried Ligue 2 player. Hardly moves us into the land of cornucopia.
    Now if we secure the Benz, maybe we could loan out Sanogo.

  48. Yesterday’s game was fantastic and arsenal dominated for 90mins. I was glad to see us come through real good.

    As regards podolski,I unfortunately do not know what to say. He’s no doubt a good player and a fantastic finisher but I do not see him being better than Giroud. The few times poldi played cf for us,I was too embarrassed to watch. It looked like we were playing with 10 men as he got lost in the game and hardly had contact with the ball. On the other hand,I think ox,walcott,carzola,gibbs/nacho and even gervinho,are better off on the left side of the attack. However,his free kicks and finishing ability is also needed in the team. You can see how arsenal struggled upfront when giroud was suspended last season. I’m banking on giroud to score more goals this season and I’m pretty sure many gunners would value him more this season.

    I do not think we need a benzema in my honest opinion. We should look at another decent striker who would not cost us so much. The only player we should cough out so much for,is suarez. Suarez is a game changer anytime. Scoring 51 goals for liverpool last season aint no joke.

    There’s also something a lot of pple do not understand. In attacking midfield,rosicky is better than carzola. He has better passes than santi. Santi would suit us better if we play him from the left where he can cut in. I’d definitely start a rosicky ahead of santi in attacking midfield.

    Ramsey was no doubt,man of the match yesterday. I’m glad to see him get back to form. Hopefully,he can become a world class player this season.

    In terms of transfers,I think we need one or two more midfielders,a back up central defender and a back up striker that is good but not expensive. Let’s not forget that walcott can play cf is giroud is absent and thomas eisfield,gnabry and ryo can all play from the right of the midfield. I think scznezy and fabianski are decent goalies. We do not need one. I’m sure giroud would get up to 20 prem league goals this season.

    Rio Bill$ from Lagos,Nigeria.

  49. Bill – Good question. The way things are, I would think the way you describe, but that said, the bid for Suarez and interest in Higuain maybe tells a different story. It is the first time in a long while we have not had a top striker at the club; hopefully he will move to put that right.

  50. Reports in German newspapers that we are letting Podolski leave on loan. Which would make sense whatsoever.

  51. If Chelsea goes for Willian, we should bid for Mata, though we have Cazorla wouldn’t more creativity help?

    Glad to see you picked up the chance to go in for Gonalons, MA. It was a plan C and I cooked up right before the qualifier with Sociedad and the result came up perfectly. Now we just need to drop 25 million Euros and get him in!

  52. I’ve to admit that I wouldn’t really enjoy the sight of Flamini in an Arsenal shirt. The moneygrabber had 1 good season for us and then he buggered off to Milan where had a roller coaster few years suffering a rather serious injury and now is a free agent. If it is like a 1-year short term deal, I’ll be okay with it. He will play out of his skin as he needs to impress his future suitors which can only be good for us. Also he is quite versatile; remember him filling in at left back in 1 or 2 matches. His experience also could help our young guys.

  53. “Flamini in an Arsenal shirt” is that a progressibe move for super super players or are we again looking at penny pinching.

    For the life of me I can’t fathom out what is going on at the club.

    For a start it wouldn’t be a bad idea if Gazidis and Wenger sang from the same song sheet.

    By Wenger standards he let Gervinho and Santos go pretty quickly,we must be saving a considerable amount of money in wages alone and when Wenger says 75% of transfer business is done in the last ten days is that an ideal way to blend and strengthen a team together with possible 3 or 4 league games already played.

    We just don’t have the luxury of resting players after one PL game or 3 games in a week, in fact we will line up at Fulham with a makeshift defence. Someone should be accountable.

  54. The take is good. We cannot assume much but we can safely say Arsenal are through. The midfield have been hailed but we are forgetting the various concentration lapses and slackness in that midfield. Watch the game again and you will see a lot of misplaced and casual passes that placed the defenders under pressure or the attackers in limbo. Permit my word. And Ramsey was the chief offender here. I know it is hard to do things right for 90 minutes but we can not win anything tangible with acts like that.

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