Tonight, Arsenal travel to Turkey for the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Fenerbahce.
Following a difficult week and, indeed, a troublesome summer for the Gunners, a win here is practically imperative if manager Arsene Wenger is to keep his critics at bay.
The Frenchman’s detractors were in full voice this week following Arsenal’s dismal performance against Aston Villa on the opening day of the Premier League season, which saw the Londoners lose 3-1 at Emirates Stadium.
And that demoralising set-back has coincided with another summer of inactivity on the transfer front as Wenger has missed out on the likes of David Villa, Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Luiz Gustavo.
So far, his only purchase has been youngster Yaya Sanogo on a free from Auxerre, which has done very little, if anything, to appease fan’s growing concerns about the direction the club are headed in.
A win tonight though would provide Wenger with at least a temporary stop-gap from the flowing flux of criticism headed his way lately, through a defeat, on the other hand, could see the floodgates open.
With just a few hours prior to kick-off, here, we predict the Gunner’s Starting XI for tonight’s crucial clash.
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This article was first posted on August 21, 2013