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UEFA Champions League Preview: Arsenal v Fenerbahce

Arsenal will hope to confirm their participation in the UEFA Champions League for the 16th-straight season against Fenerbahce on Tuesday.

The Premier League side hold a 3-0 advantage ahead of the qualifying play-off second leg at the Emirates Stadium following a comfortable victory in Turkey on Wednesday that came courtesy of goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.

Arsenal went into that game amid suggestions of a crisis, with fans expressing frustration over a lack of transfer activity after an opening-day league defeat at home to Aston Villa.

However, they have since followed up their easy win at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium with a 3-1 away victory over Fulham on Saturday, and are now brimming with confidence ahead of a second encounter with the Turks.

Fenerbahce also enjoyed a return to form in the Super Lig over the weekend, as they defeated Eskisehirspor 1-0 at home courtesy of a second-half Dirk Kuyt strike.

But Ersun Yanal’s side are, in truth, simply looking to salvage some pride from their trip to London.

They will at least be buoyed by the fact that they earned a 0-0 draw during the last encounter between these teams at the Emirates, which came in November 2008.

Yet, even if Fenerbahce pull off a miraculous comeback to seal progression, their place in the Champions League would be by no means assured.

The 18-time Turkish champions are still fighting a UEFA ban for alleged match fixing and must await a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will come after their clash with Arsenal.

Sun 25 August, 2013
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