Arsenal v Besiktas Review – It was Wenger what won it!

Arsenal vs Besiktas: Wenger’s team selection deserves plaudits by SE

An Overview
It was one tantalizing tie to overcome for Arsenal, who were hoping to make it to the Group stages of the UEFA Champions League for the 17th year running.

The Gunners, more ominously, had lost the core of their squad for last night’s game, which didn’t make matters any easier. Besiktas, on the other hand, were in buoyant mood, after playing out a goalless draw in the home leg and thought they could cause a colossal upset against a depleted Arsenal lineup. On the night, however, it was Wenger, who, despite all the repeated skepticism over his managerial prowess, affected the game positively for Arsenal, solely through his pristine team selection.

Talking Points
Giroud was out with an ankle injury; Ramsey was suspended; Arteta and Gibbs were also out, with ankle and hamstring injuries, which handicapped Arsenal and Wenger from picking their first choice XI. I personally thought that the Frenchman would revert back to his 4-2-3-1 system, and try to get the best out his Ozils and Sanchezs. But his tactics and confidence to stick with the same 4-3-3 system, which he has adopted this season, and yet managing to pull off a result of this magnitude is worth applauding.
Chamberlain was pivotal, with his pacey, darting runs on the right flank. That’s where I thought Wenger has evolved from the manager he was last year and, how he is prepared to gamble with his systems and choosing an efficient starting XI, this year. He could have well played Sanchez on the wing, after a bad 45-minute period against Everton, at the weekend, and played Sanogo up front. But he persisted with the Chilean playing the No.9 role and Chamberlain on the Right-Wing, which, in the end, benefitted Arsenal immensely.

Sanchez’s industry and ability to dribble were on show in the second period, and, with a bit of luck, Arsenal could have saved a bit of high pressure and palpitations they must have endured towards the latter stages of last night’s crucial tie. And, most conspicuously, Cazorla got to play in the middle of the park, where we hardly ever see him. That was yet another aspect of Wenger’s perception and panache, with regards to team selection for the game yesterday.

Cazorla’s marauding runs married with Wilshere’s irresistible passing and movement sucked the life out of Besiktas’s backline. As I said, Arsenal should have pocketed the 2nd goal, during the second half, which would have put the game to bed.

In the end, Arsenal managed to grind out a 1-0 victory, which is testament to Wenger’s audacity and evolution as a manger this season. Yes, Football matches are won by the 11 men on the pitch; but launching a tirade at the manager when the team loses – and not underlining his influence when the team wins – is rather aberrational.

Plaudits for Wenger
The Gunners’ gaffer deserves the majority of the plaudits for Arsenal going through to the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition for the 17th year running. Arsenal and their manager will have much bigger tests, domestically and continentally, this season but, on the evidence of last night’s massive result; the signs are very good for Arsenal to have a top season all-round.

Tags Cazorla Chamberlain Giroud Sanchez


  1. Breaking news. Demba Ba went missing last night but according to latest reports he was found this morning in Laurent Koscielny’s washing machine.

      1. Yes, but he needs to realise that he couldn’t hit a barn door from 3 yards and therefore avoid trying shots from outside the area. Koscielny put on a masterclass in man-marking just as he once did with Messi.

        1. Name other players that never hit the barn door. He has been the best left back since clichy left and as for Gibbs he has to be more confident in passing the ball forward his runs down the left are far to short . Monreal has really come on as for Gibbs he gets injured to easy CB

    1. till when will wenger still being given the 100% support from the board , this summer is not as good as many could think , we have added only sanchez and havnt replaced our captain , our needed positions havnt been covered yet , cf and first choice defensive midfielder and wenger still believing in sanogo , this shows how much ambitous he is .
      am not a pestimestic person neither am lookong to spread negativity , but i cant find a reason to be optimestic about the season , our rivals city and chelsea look extremely strong and complete teams , and our team is still after two years of deer need crying for top class center forward and defensive midfielder , and when i say top class welbeck remy are not included .

      1. Chelsea, and, Cty have had massive funds to spend over 5/10 years.
        Of course they have more depth in their squads, and, they pay premium wages.
        We bought Mezut last year, Alexis this, plus, a few upgrades for decent money added up.
        WHEN will some fans accept we do NOT have the money to compete with some other Clubs in Europe financially, unless, we put the Club in hock, ala Utd and Pool.

      1. thats because they have a sporting director whose only work is to analyse the transfer market , the one that arsenal doesnt have or coincedes with the manager
        wenger = manager + sporting director which is not a good thing

  2. Even they we were lucky we played quite well.These media seems to downplay our achievments.Fu#*ing Arsenal Haters!

    1. @Hald
      Besiktas were lucky we misfired so many times. Otherwise it could have easily been 5/6-0…
      Yeah, we caught a couple breaks with the penalties, but hey…

  3. We can all laugh now but imagine how much cleaner our pants would be right now if Ox had put that chance away… What a match that was, nerve raking!!!

    The team put in a good shift yesterday and we expert nothing less in the rest of the games from now on.

    Good fighting spirit / Maturity / Determination / winning mentality!!!

  4. Jack and Rambo should be fighting for one spot, it seems they play better without one another, may be they are getting into each others way. All the 3 signings are getting more impressive, and settling into the team. The future is bright #COYG

    1. They may eventually learn to play with each other. Jack may become our own Iniesta, Rambo our own Xavi and Sanchez our own Messi. Ok, now I may be pushing it too far. But Chambers sure looks like a future Sergio Busquet (minus the diving though).

      ———-Messi Sanchez—————–

      1. Sorry I meant ‘play together’ not ‘play with each other’. That kind of sound wrong in my head.

    2. I think in the long term it’s gonna have to be one or the other. Atm Ramsey is miles ahead of wilshere however I do feel wilshere has more natural ability than Ramsey. The challenge for wilshere is showcasing that naturally ability CONSISTENTLY and when it MATTERS. If he is able to that Ramsey’s starting place in the team will be under real threat I feel.

      1. I think Sol Campbell was surprisingly accurate in his appraisal of Wilshere. He needs to know when to move with a the ball at feet and when to release it because he loses posession too often. If you run at defenders successfully from central midfield you can definitely create opportunities to score but it is very difficult to do successfully because you are operating in a confined space. The problem is that he is forcing Ozil to play left wing and what perhaps should be happening is that he is used in rotation with Ozil depending upon the opposition. The effectiveness of his way of playing depends significantly upon how the opposition set up, specifically how much space there is between the lines. I sometimes wonder whether Ozil has a clause in his contract guaranteeing that he starts when fit.

      2. I rate Wiltshire now better than Ozil who has not lived up to his $42 mil tag he is hopeless at defending that’s why he was off for Chambers Me I thing Ozil will be gone in 2 seasons as for Sanches he really knows how to play forward and make it hard for defenders to play,he is like a terroir biting at your ankles Ger off ya bustard CB

  5. Sanchez, Cazorla and Wilshere really stood out last night. Sanchez MOTM. We got to see what hard work is all about and I really hope Giroud was taking notes because there is nothing like a player who gives 110% and chases. People forget that these athletes train everyday and are superfit….so to give anything less is not acceptable. It was also great to see Wilshere making those defense splitting passes and getting involved.

    As for the ref LMFAO.

      1. Not sure what games you have been watching, but he moans a lot and barely chases. Running half heartedly at a defender does not count. If you are going to try and put pressure on a defender to win the ball, do it like you mean it. His pace is probably half the problem, that is why he couldn’t be arsed half the time.

    1. Cazorla was on fire! He was pumped for the game right from the 1st minute to the last. Wilshere got his burst of pace back. On one occasion he was pulled backed while running and he actually stood his ground, refusing to fall to the ground. Can you believe that?! Plus, off-form or not- Wilshere is definitely the best 1-2-pass player we’ve got in our team and probably the league entirely. Neither Ozil or Cazorla can beat Wilshere at 1-2 passes when he is at his best.
      Sanchez noticed that it wasn’t working well for him down the middle, so he started working the channels (left and right) and it paid of with a goal and a close-shave miss (both from sumptuous passes) and almost an assist.

    2. AND because they train everyday I can’t understand why the Ox didn’t put that ball in the net. He’s one of my favourite players and a top lad, but he has to put those in! And the rest as well. We’re not clinical yet, but we’re getting there. And if we would play with such spirit every game, we can win the league. Although a top striker would make it easier. There will be more frustrated with Wenger when he said it’s not logical to just buy buy ain’t got a top class specialist striker! How is that logical for a team that wants to win things?

  6. Good article. I thought we played well last night. Yes, it was squeaky bottom while in search of a second goal, but we attacked with confidence and that was great to see.

    We are at our best in attack mode, not sitting and passing, so it was good to see.

  7. wenger was now saying after the game that “we are open to strengthening in ANY POSITION”

  8. Sorry but Arsenal were not very good at all. I am more than happy we got through, but the world and its children know that this Arsenal team will have no chance winning the Champions League or Premiership title. We are still three players short, a CB, A DM and especially a true CF. Wenger has truly lost the plot and is trying to win the League with a thinner squad than ever. There are 5 days to go and Wenger is going to let you down. “Wenger will let you down” should be the new Arsenal song.

    1. One -and I repeat- one “world-class player” addition (doesn’t matter the position) to this squad will automatically take us to the level of Premiership title favorites.
      Funny about the new Arsenal song though. It’s not new really. It has been my phone ringtone for some time now. I actually downloaded the remix version on January 30th 2014. Still, I find myself hoping that Wenger will bring in Cavani between now and Monday. I can’t help it!

    2. I wouldn’t go as far as to say a thinner squad than ever, because our squad has improved since last season (in which we won the F.A) and there is still time to sign another two players before the window ends. But I do agree, we need those 3 positions sorted or else I can only see us ending 3rd or 4th again. Cavani and Carvalho would be my last two priority buys (Cavani primarily because Giroud is injured and he is world class and we can get him for 40m) and Carvalho (only 22 and already playing like a beast, Sporting are only asking around between 18m-24m for him), and then promote a CB from our reserves (like Bellerin or Hayden) to 1st team CB to cover any injuries. 64m and we are title contenders, as well as CL contenders. Get it done Wenger.

  9. If Monreal continues to improve at this rate, Gobbs might well find himself as 2nd choice LB. Let’s not forget the sweet cross to set up Giroud’s goal against Everton. Yesterday, he also gave a lovely ground cross the OX should have scored from. I notice he also looks much bigger (and stronger) than when he first came. The gym helped obviously.

  10. Xabi Alonso is undergoing medical tests at Munich to sign for Bayern for about 5 mil. ii think this should have been a no brainer for AW given his tendency to money pinch. proven leader, in exactly the position we need a player.

  11. Does anyone else think Jack is playing under the shadow of Ramsey? No AR last night and Jack stepped up and became the main man, pleased for him and us! Leo around? I’m fishing for some transfer rumours.

    1. Half of Jack’s problem started when he had that one brilliant game for England against Brazil and everyone began to liken him to Paul Gascoine. The English media didn’t help the cause and all the attention and hype went straight to his head. He got injured shortly after that and he just hasn’t really been the same up until last night. After his recent smoking stunt, he probably has taken a step back and had a good look at his future. I’m sure Wenger being the mentor that he is, had a few stern words with him, not to mention other seasoned English veterans giving him good advice which it seems he has taken to heart. His attitude last night was much better and I just hope he can keep his head down and stay focused. If he can do this, great things are in store for him and Arsenal.

    2. haha well just a quick google and you’ll get your fix!!
      Rabiot & Papastathopoulos are circulating the rumor-mill… Either one would be amazing.

  12. I think there is a 42 mill player who will never fit in at arsenal. I can’t remember the last good game he had. Cash him in now and buy 2 players from the EPL and get English players. It’s sad as he is a nice lad but he looks so unhappy in the arsenal shirt

    1. Having your e-mail as your username speaks volumes of your intelligence. I guess your comment reinforces that. Be expecting spam son.

  13. It is sad to which our team bad luck in order for our manager to sign a player…It is sad but the truth.

  14. Jack Wilshere’s comments on Sanchez’s goal.

    “It was a good finish. He had a few chances and he’s got great movement off the ball. He gives us midfielders something a bit different, going in behind.
    “He can play [as a central striker], we’ve also got Theo coming back and we’ve got Sanogo on the bench, who has improved so much. We’ve got good options up there.”

    We hear it from the horses mouth. Midfielders prefer forwards who can run in behind defenses. You all know who I’m NOT referring to.

  15. We’re developing a real fighting spirit and all 3 of our last performances (palace,everton,besiktas) have been by grit and determination. We still have a few more gears to find as we haven’t been anywhere near our best yet but the positive is that we’re still getting results. P.s i think we still need a striker,cdm and cb but its not looking likely. I trust AW but if he doesn’t address these 3 key posistions we will live to regret it as surely he must know and have learnt by now injuries will always hamper our progress!!

  16. “Monreal is improving”….!!!!!

    You are not included in the Spanish national squad (the winning World Cup and European side) by pure hazard…!
    Yesterday game would have seen Gibbs collapse in the first 45mins as it was just physically challenging.
    Anyway, it was a squeeze, but we did it.
    We should be dominating teams like Besiktas… Until we do, we will never reach the 2006 glorious day.

    Wenger needs to work on the wallet quickly… Few days left to do some business.

    Arsenal fans are getting used to their club scrambling around in the final hours of the window trying to source a bargain or pull a rabbit out of the hat. Given the resources at Wenger’s disposal, this policy seems unnecessarily counter-productive and even unambitious.

  17. Wilshere was amazing last night. He is finally playing to his strengths again which are to take and pass the ball quickly. Recently he would hold the ball for too long.

    Sanchez was amazing. The guy is a huge force going forward.

  18. @ SE

    I am not sure what match you was watching or if you have watched any this season, but we were quite clearly playing 4141 and have done since the community shield.

    Unless wenger decides to delist at least 2 players from the champions league A list I just can’t see anymore signings. As it stands I expect Walcott and ospina to come in for macey and giroud. I am not sure if ryo will get a place, but he will be vying with any new signing plus sanogo coquelin miquel zelalem and diaby for the last 5 slots. But it must be remembered, coquelin and miquel are in the squad as association trained.

  19. Özil got an assist, and he was horrendous? Which match were some people watching? He tracked back a lot, and made some tackles. His baby facial expression may be deceptive… Not denying he’s got to improve.

      1. If the ball grazed Wilshere then it was an accident – Wilshere’s contribution was to leave the ball for Sanchez. Neither JW or AS would have been in on goal without the deft Ozil pass.

  20. I will give Wenger credit for not playing Sonogo but he should have played Joel Campbell as striker with Ox and Sanchez on the wings. Ozil at LW is unadulterated stupidity. But it also appears to be Ozil’s new position.

  21. Lol… I just find it cringeworthy the way our fans are so wrapped up in Ozil.. The little he does is magnified like wow..
    But the likes of Giroud,Wilshere, Cazorla, Monreal, Arteta, Mert etc are crucified for every little wrong they do..
    I just can’t stand it… All I want is for every player to get the same treatment, just because the others cost less than £20 million each does not mean they should be taken a p*ss out of day in day out while £42 million player performing poorly too get preferential treatment..
    I am not on that boat…
    Ramsey and Wilshere in same starting XI is a death wish, thats what ive learned. Ramsey/Ozil linkup just needs to be reignited. Wilshere still has only had one good match, lets not hype him up all over again. ( I ask has Ozil even had one yet? )

    Ozil is physically weak, and ill admit it, hes lazy as hell. Wenger knows this but puts him in a winger role where tracking back is required. Wengers fault for playing him there, and Wengers fault for not screaming in his face to get more physical and learn to track back. Truth is you cant cut it in EPL if you dont have some type of workrate, and thats the worst part of Ozil’s game, and it too obviously hurts the team. Wenger needs to coach Ozil better honestly, and Ozil needs to realize he has to step it up.

    So now he can’t play because of Wilshere? It was Giroud who was being blamed for Ozils poor showing, now Wilshere?
    The Ozil fan boys keep going on about he needs quick players around him, Sanchez and The Ox have played 2 games in a row with him, but I ain’t seen what everyone keeps telling us about his game..

  22. Why is Wenger given credit for this win? We scraped by a mediocre side who had a penalty not given? We were lucky and ill take that.

    Wenger played Ozil out of position and made no changes towards the end of the game. Cazorla was covering the left instead of Ozil, Sanchez could hardly move he had run his heart out.

    Last 10 minutes, bring Rosicky for Ozil, Cazolra to the left Rosicky to the middle, And start keeping the ball a bit more.
    We wouldnt be praising him if Ba had glanced that header in, in the last minute. We would be screaming for his head!!
    My take is Arsenal was not good and was lucky to scrape through and with better tactics and changes could have and would have played better.

  23. To all AW lovers.. Everyone of us would have picked the same squad for yesterdays match more or less. The fact that many key players were unavailable made the selection for Wenger easier. And Wilshere was extremely lucky with that misstimed tackle in the penalty area! Had a penalty been given we would habe drawn and fans would have put the blame clearly on him! Hopefully we are through and can wait the end of the transfer window with greater optimism!

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