CL Qualifiers: Koscielny & Gibbs Injured, Bellerin, Per & Ozil Set For Return.

Arsenal left it late over the weekend against Crystal Palace after the Gunners came from behind with a first half goal from Laurent Koscielny to bring the game back on level terms before “star-boy” Aaron Ramsey found the back of the net in extra time to give the Gunners hard-fought three points in front of their home fans.

And although some believe that the performance from the Gunners was an unconvincing one but Arsenal manager – Arsène Wenger says Arsenal’s win over Crystal Palace was the ideal way to prepare for their Champions League qualifier against Besiktas.

The Gunners face Turkish opposition in the play-off round for the second year running on Tuesday as they aim to secure their place in the group stages for a 17th successive season.

Wenger has some fitness concerns ahead of the trip to Istanbul with Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs both carrying knocks, but the manager is confident his side will maintain their focus to overcome a difficult tie.

“We are desperate to do it because we want to play in the Champions League and we know how big these games are,” Wenger said.

“We had to give a lot [against Crystal Palace], hopefully we will recover and be ready for Tuesday night.

“We are desperate to go through, no matter what it costs we want to go through. We have always a difficult draw, we had Fenerbahce last year, this time we have Besiktas. It’s difficult.

Arsenal centre-back – Koscielny who drew level the game over the weekend sustained a slight knock and the manager revealed that upon assessment of the players condition, if need be, he will integrate Per Mertesacker back into his starting line-up for the champions league clash, but ruled out the possibility of bringing back the rest of his World Cup winning Germans for the encounter.

However, Wenger revealed that the German trio would be available for contention in our next league clash against Everton at the Goodison Park.

“We will assess Koscielny on Monday; if he’s fit and capable to play, we play him. It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton. But in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker.

“But we have Bellerin, who was 19 today, who can come in. we are a bit short. I hope Koscielny responds well to today’s game.”


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