Arsenal 1 v 0 Besiktas
Kick off: August 27th, 2014 19.45 PM BST
One of the tensest games I’ve seen in a long time, but one that sees Arsenal through to the Champions League group stages. The Gunners were required to work incredibly hard for their win, and after going down to 10 men it was backs against the wall time. Plenty of decisions went against us tonight, but we were arguably lucky not to concede a penalty. A win is a win however, and Arsenal will now be in the Champions League draw tomorrow night.
Here are the player ratings:
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Szczesny 6.5: Didn’t have too much to do, what he did he did well.
Debuchy 7.5: Arguably one of the best players on the pitch, but put the team under pressure after getting his second yellow. He and Chamberlain linked up superbly down the right, and the Frenchmen made a couple of crucial tackles
Mertesacker 7.0: Still looks a little off the pace (more so than usual), but got his head on most things. Ba was a handful for the German, but it’s good to see him and Koscielny back together.
Koscielny 7.5: The French centre back did what he does best, sweeping up behind his German partner and making every loose ball his. Arguably should have got his head on a great ball into the box in the second half.
Monreal 6.5: Looked surprisingly brilliant at times, but as the game wore on he seemed to tire. Besiktas substitute, Töre, definitely had the beating of the Spanish fullback and he required plenty of help.
Flamini 6.5: The Frenchman looked solid in midfield and protected the back four well, but made a couple of questionable decisions in and around the box when defending in the second half.
Wilshere 8.0: (MotM) The young Englishmen worked absolutely tirelessly today, leaving everything on the pitch. He was involved in many of Arsenal’s best attacking moves, including being at the heart of the move that resulted in Alexis’ goal.
Cazorla 7.0: Santi was another player who put a great shift in, certainly not shirking his defensive responsibilities when it was required. He still doesn’t look at his best going forward, but he was still involved in a lot of Arsenal’s good attacking moves.
Özil 6.5: Mesut was Arsenal’s one and only substitute, and it definitely didn’t come a moment too soon as the German looked dead on his feet in the second half. He played a couple of fantastic balls and made a number of brilliant runs, but it’s clear he will need some time to get up to full match fitness; and more importantly to gel with Arsenal’s new boy, Alexis Sanchez.
Ox 7.5: Chamberlain was one of the best players on the pitch in the first half along with Mathieu Debuchy. The pair look to be building a great understanding down the right and we could see the Ox really break out this season. He should have scored late on after a great chance was put on a plate by Monreal, but couldn’t adjust his body and shot tamely straight at the keeper.
Alexis 8.0: The Chilean forward looked like he may be headed for another disappointing game, similar to the one at Goodison Park at the weekend. But not only did he grab his first goal for the Gunners, he also, along with Jack Wilshere, worked unbelievably hard for the team both in attack and defence. He harassed the opponents throughout the night and never stopped running. He missed a great chance to put us 2-0 up but his work rate was so important for us late on.
75′ Chambers 7.0: Very unlucky to be booked before even kicking a ball, performed admirably during his short time on the pitch. Got forward well too and put a great ball into the box for Alexis.