Besiktas 0 - 0 Arsenal
The Premier League returned on the weekend, and now it was the turn of the Champions League. Arsenal journeyed to Istanbul to face a tenacious Besiktas side.
The first half began with a surprising effort from Demba Ba right from kick off. He launched a great shot from the half way line, forcing Szczesney to push the ball onto the crossbar. A good save consider the game was only seconds old.
After that, things calmed down. A lot.
Besiktas were pushing forward well, but were also organised in defence. Arsenal were equally strong at the back, thanks mainly to Chambers. This made for plain viewing.
Giroud had a few chances, but he spurned them all. It wasn’t his half, nor Arsenal’s.
Alexis was looking dangerous down the right flank, whilst Wilshere and Ramsey were holding their own in the middle. Olivier Giroud had a few chances, but he spurned them all. It wasn’t his half, nor Arsenal’s.
The second half wasn’t much better either.
The Gunners had some chances, but things just weren’t falling into place. The sleeping Giroud and Cazorla weren’t helping things either.
Unfortunately, the biggest action of the game came at an expense. Ramsey had picked up a silly yellow card earlier in the half, and a shirt pull on Ozyakup after losing possession in the eightieth minute saw the referee produce a red card.
Not the best result, but on a noisy night in Istanbul, with ten men, a draw isn’t too bad.
Arsenal weren’t looking good to begin with, and they now had to see out the game with ten men.
Thankfully though, they did, and it was all square in the end. Not the best result, but on a noisy night in Istanbul, with ten men, a draw isn’t too bad.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Was called into action twice in the first half by Demba Ba, and he responded well both times.
Defensively solid, and really impressed me going forward. Gives us a genuinely good outlet that we’ve been missing for years.
Chambers: [8.5/10] - MOTM
What a performance. Bar one misjudgment where he let Ba through, Chambers was bossing his aerial battles, crunching into fair tackles, winning balls and looking commanding. 19-years-old? Today he played like he was 29.
Provided good cover for Chambers, won his battles and did well to keep Ba quiet.
Looked a little shaky at the back, and didn’t get forward as often as he should have done. Produced some good crosses.
Played well in the middle up until he vacated the pitch with an injury. Captain or no captain though, we need a more powerful, more commanding DM.
Started slow but grew into the game. Showed glimpses of the “Old Jack” at times. Ran at players, held on to possession well, and provided cover for the defence.
At one point I thought he’d fallen asleep. The little Spaniard was quiet in the first half, but literally non-existent in the second. Needs to be dropped now.
Produced one brilliant lob-pass to Giroud just before half time, but was quiet otherwise. Two silly yellow cards later and he was walking down the tunnel.
By far our most effective attacker during the first and second half. Looked dangerous whenever he touched the ball, and managed to play some good balls to Giroud. Surprised when Wenger subbed him off ahead of Giroud and Cazorla.
Everything he touched turned to crap tonight. He couldn’t get a hold on the game at all. The only reason Olivier isn’t a “4/10″ like Cazorla is because he was actually trying.
The OX: [7.5/10]
Injected positivity, and hit the post very late on after a good run. Must surely start ahead of Cazorla on the weekend.
Did an okay job of replacing Arteta. Booked within minutes of coming on, but we all expected that anyway.
All Square In Istanbul
No away goals, but Besiktas won’t be nearly as strong at The Emirates.
Plus, Ozil, Mertesacker - and maybe even a new signing - might be in the ranks before the second leg. I’m not too worried.
What I am worried about, is Cazorla and Giroud starting week-in, week-out. They proved last season, and continued to prove tonight that they aren’t any where near the same level as Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis and Walcott - and that’s the quality we need now. Wenger needs to buy.
I don’t put tonight’s draw on them alone, but their showing gives me a good reason to make the above point. They’re excellent backup options, sub-par first choice options.
In any case, Everton on the weekend. Let’s be having ’em.