Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Arsenal v Fenerbahce: live -

E-mailRichard writes: "I'd love to bring back Monsieur Cantona. Am I alone in thinking the Premier League needs more abstract metaphorical poetry, kung fu and seagulls?"

90+2 min Jenkinson from seven yards! Fabulous reaction save from Volkan! Fenerbahce are rather coming apart at the end here.

90 min Three minutes of injury time. Ramsey, it's emerged, got his yellow card for coming back onto the field without permission after changing a boot. That will seem unbelievably petty if he gets himself suspended for the final group game. Three minutes of injury time.

89 min Almost a perfect response from Wilshere, collecting the ball in space on the left, cutting inside and testing Volkan with a fierce shot.

88 min Wilshere poleaxed again! If you didn't know better, you'd say Fenerbahce had seen him hobbling a few minutes earlier and, unable to win the game, were trying to nobble him instead. No yellow card. Wilshere looks furious.

86 min Wilshere clumsily, cynically, brought down by Bruno Alves. How that isn't a booking I don't know. Cazorla puts the free-kick into the wall.

85 min Sanogo passes it out to the right for Ryo, whose cross is headed away. I really hope Ryo hasn't turned into a crosser during those long months of injury. Crossing really isn't his natural game. His natural game, quite clearly, is running like the clappers and beating people. It would be a terrible shame if maturity bludgeoned that gleeful running-like-the-clappers instinct out of him.

84 min Here's Ramsey's second goal. A delight.

82 min Sow drags a shot wide. He's coming off. Topuz replaces him. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere limps off and then back on again.

80 min Not much happening. Time to think up some jaunty chants. Wenger, sign the scarves! Wenger, Wenger, sign the scarves!

79 min This is quite nice, isn't it?

77 min Bruno Alves tries his luck with a free-kick from distance. It bounces just before it gets to Szczesny, who smothers the ball into his arms as if it were a running toddler.

75 min Sanogo with his first shot in the Champions League. Cazorla with a superb dribble into the Fenerbahce half, slips it to Sanogo, who loses the ball initially before getting it back, and trying to curl a shot into the top corner. Unsurprisingly, he snatches at it a bit.

74 min Emenike heads over the bar and Miyachi replaces Walcott.

Goal72 min GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Fenerbahce; agg 5-0 (Ramsey)
Beautiful, beautiful goal by Aaron Ramsey! All one-touch stuff from Arsenal - Podolski, Sanogo, Wilshere, Walcott, the cut-back from the left, and a wonderful finish by Ramsey, a tapped volley, with the instep tilted so he could angle the ball past Volkan and into the far corner. That is a lovely goal, and no mistake.

71 min Ramsey booked for... not sure. I think it was for getting a foot in as Fenerbahce tried to take a quick free-kick. Yellow cards do carry over to the group stage, so that could come back to haunt him.

70 min Sanogo's not seen much of the ball since he came on. When you're the lone striker at Arsenal, you tend not to see a lot of the ball. It took Giroud a season to realise this, so now he drops back, does some nice touches, links play and so on. Sanogo will get there, but probably not tonight.

69 min When he goes to sleep at night, Arsene Wenger dreams of all the players he's not going to sign.

68 min Walcott hits the bar from a free-kick! That was very, very close to brilliant. Volkan could have done nothing about that.

67 min Walcott crosses for Sanogo, who's unmarked six yards out. Volkan leaps and grabs the ball one-handed. Fenerbahce bring off Kuyt and Cristian, and bring on Potuk and Webo.

TwitterDarren Marshall tweets: "What's up with all the topless Turks? Have Arsenal opened a Turkish bath in the away section in a bid to boost attendance?"

It says a lot about Arsenal fans these days that that would probably work.

65 min Corner on the Arsenal right. Volkan comes for it before changing his mind - on the evidence of these two games, he strikes me as a complete flim-flam of a footballer - and Gibbs heads just over.

64 min Monreal with perhaps as bad a cross as you can allow a professional footballer to make before you suggest he takes up something else. He's well advanced on the left wing, tries to clip it to the edge of the area, and ends up almost sending it back to the centre circle.

63 min Sanogo gets the ball, and then loses it. Still, looks better than Park Chu-Young so far.

62 min Sanogo's trotting around a little bit. Looks full of energy. He's doing a lot of chasing down balls he hasn't the slightest hope of getting. I suppose that's what you call enthusiasm.

60 min Giroud comes off, and in an attempt to prove that Yaya Sanogo is indeed a real footballer and not just a name that Arsenal made up in a panic, Arsene Wenger brings on Yaya Sanogo.

59 min Walcott collides with Caner in the air, and that could have been nasty. Both on their feet, though.

57 min Oblivious to the scoreline, or even the direction in which the match is taking place, the Fenerbahce fans are having an absolutely brilliant time tonight. They're making all the noise, too.

54 min Long ball up to Emenike, who goes down on the edge of the area as Szczesny charges towards him. Not a penalty, but in fact a booking for Emenike for diving. Emenike knew it too, and put his hand up as soon as he got to his feet to indicate that there hadn't been contact. Still a yellow, though. Kuyt pleads Emenike's case to no avail.

52 min Emenike cuts the ball back to Kuyt on the edge of the area. Kuyt's shot is blocked. Sow crosses for Cristian, but his header is deflected behind for a corner to Fenerbahce. Caner's corner is flicked on, cleared to Cristian on the edge of the area, he tries to head it to Kuyt, but Sagna anticipates well and intercepts.

E-mailShane O'Leary: "Hola Jonathan. Speaking purely as a CFC supporter, the player I'd most like to see back in English football (is that an oxymoron yet?) is Fernando Torres. Just a thought. Night, night."

50 min Gibbs has slotted in ahead of Monreal, which is interesting. Jenkinson tries to clip the ball in for him, but Volkan gets there first. Gibbs complaining that he was impeded, but he wasn't.

49 min Stretcher for Podolski. Kieran Gibbs, interestingly, is the man who replaces him. Corner to Arsenal, meanwhile. It's headed away.

47 min No changes or signings at half-time. But there might be within two minutes of the start of the half, as Podolski pulls up on the left wing and looks in a good deal of discomfort. He hobbles to the sidelines and it looks like he'll be coming off.

20.46 Right, we're off and running again. Arsenal with 45 minutes to save their season. Sorry, just copied and pasted that from another live blog. Still, it could be said that they are playing to save their season, even though you'd have to fancy their chances.

E-mailManhad writes: "You are the wittiest football commentator on the internet, ever been offered TV or radio? How good would Rooney be in this Arsenal team? Is there anyone Wenger could buy in world football that can compete with Giroud in the looks department?"

That's a pretty formidable trio of questions there. In reverse order: yes, Hugo Lloris; quite good indeed; yes, but they were trying to sell it to me, not invite me to appear on it.

E-mailMarco Aondio on who he'd like to see back in the Premier League: "Flamini! Because Arsenal can afford it!"

HALF-TIME Arsenal 1-0 Fenerbahce (agg 4-0)

44 min Giroud puts the ball over from six yards! That wasn't very good, if we're going to be perfectly honest with ourselves.

41 min Commitment here from Korkmaz, if not a lot else.

39 min Emenike smacks the ball against the post! That, in fact, is a brilliant save by Szczesny. Very, very soft work indeed from Sagna, who allows Emenike to turn him far too easily. Emenike went hard at the near post, Szczesny got fingertips to it and tipped it onto the post. Sow then crossed for Emenike, but he was offside.

37 min Cazorla prances menacingly into the area after a fine backheel by Podolski and has a shot blocked.

35 min Sow tries to turn Mertesacker, who lunges in with one leg and brings him down. Could have been painful, that, given the way Sow was twisting. Still, it's a free-kick to Fenerbahce about 25 yards out and a yellow card for Mertesacker. Here's Bruno Alves... and it's close! Just curling wide!

34 min Look at him. Look at him blithely not signing players. He might as well be spitting in your dinner, Arsenal fans.

32 min Cazorla. Ramsey. A couple of lovely touches by each player. To Giroud, who should either have crossed from the left or shot first time. Instead, he took a touch and then tried to shoot from a tightening angle, and it was fairly simple for Volkan to save.

30 min Fenerbahce break, but Walcott chases down Kuyt and wins the ball. Watching Walcott chasing down Kuyt is like watching some horrific sort of bloodsport.

29 min Egemen Korkmaz brings down a flying Theo Walcott very clumsily, but also very necessarily. Yellow card, no question. Bruno Alves heads away Cazorla's free-kick.

27 min Clearly this means somebody now dies. Not because Aaron Ramsey has scored, but because the world's a big place.

Goal25 min GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Fenerbahce; agg 4-0 (Ramsey)
Podolski with a surging run through the centre, Caner's tackle doubles up as a perfect through ball for Walcott, Walcott's initial shot is blocked but the ball falls for Ramsey, who squeezes into an empty net. A ripple of applause around the Emirates, just like in the days of yore. Ramsey doesn't quite shake hands with his team-mates and trot back towards the centre circle, but not far off.

24 min Lovely one-touch football from Arsenal, this. "Rat-a-tat passing," Andy Townsend calls it. I might steal that phrase, I quite like that. Volkan has to come out to punch.

22 min Fenerbahce counter, the ball falls for Sahin, and he leathers it just wide from 30 yards! I'm not sure Szczesny knew a lot about that. It's not Nuri Sahin, by the way, it's a guy called Selcuk Sahin.

20 min Sagna with a nice bit of skill to evade Emenike. God, the Emirates is quiet tonight. I've had rowdier naps.

18 min Meireles with a lovely diagonal ball out to Gokhan on the right wing. Gokhan has plenty of time to cross, but I think he thinks footballs bend a lot more than they actually do. That's at least the third time he's tried to bend the ball across the six yard box with Emenike charging gamely into the area, only to hit it straight at Szczesny.

17 min A quite breathtaking piece of skill and smallness by Cazorla, rolling the ball back with the sole of his foot before nudging it between two players and squirming through the gap. Giroud has a shot from distance, but puts it well wide.

16 min Here's Arsene Wenger sitting on the bench. Do you see a chequebook in his hands? I don't. Instead he's just watching the football without a care in the world. SPEND SOME MONEY.

14 min Walcott cuts inside quite nicely, getting away from two players before shooting left-footed. The shot is not bad, either, and Volkan (who's actually half-Volkan and half-human) saves with both hands at his near post.

12 min Sow has to shoot there! Instead, he doesn't, even though he's only 14 yards out in the centre, taking a touch and eventually losing the ball after Caner plays him in. Szczesny then tries to clear the ball, it comes straight off Cristian, and Szczesny then has to save at point-blank range from his own clearance. Sow really should have worked Szczesny in the first place though. With his reluctance to shoot, he'd make a perfect new signing for Arsenal, who have still not made any new signings.

10 min Gokhan loses the ball in his own half, but Arsenal's attack breaks down following a misunderstanding between Giroud and Cazorla.

8 min Sow with a cross from the right. Fenerbahce have started brightly. He's looking for Cristian. Ramsey does well to head it away.

7 min Fenerbahce can break with Moussa Sow, who plays it out right to Gokhan. Oh, it's awful. Sow definitely does not get to sign any players.

5 min Emenike is offside. He hasn't signed any players tonight either.

4 min Wilshere threads the ball through to Cazorla. Cazorla and Monreal pass the ball to each other back and forth until one of them gets tackled. Still no signings.

2 min It comes out to Raul Meireles, who shoots from distance. It's deflected, and Szczesny gathers easily.

1 min Fenerbahce have an early corner. The Emirates is half full, if that. Arsene Wenger has still not signed any players.

19.46 Off we go, then. Fenerbahce playing in yellow and black, Arsenal in their time-honoured red with white bits.

19.40 ITV's coverage has started.

"Really, what's the point?" asks Adrian Chiles.

"Tell me about it," Lee Dixon replies. "I had tickets to the theatre tonight."

"No," Chiles says. "What's the point of any of it? We come to football. We watch football. We go home. We turn on our computers to find hundreds of messages telling us that we're useless at our job and I look like a squashed can of condensed soup. I mean, why do we bother?"

"For the love of the game," Dixon tells him. "The scent of fried onions on the walk to the ground. The buzz of expectation in the air. The thrill of live television. The result might not be in doubt, but football's always been about so much more. Tonight a player might score a goal that we'll talk about for the rest of our lives. And we'll have been there. And then afterwards, we'll get 90 seconds to analyse it before we have to go to the news."

"Besides," Ian Wright says, "I don't get to do much telly these days. Come on, Arsenal!"

"You're supposed to be impartial," Chiles tells him.

"You what?" Wright asks with a quizzical expression.

"Never mind."

19.10 TEAM NEWS. And it's a strong Arsenal team. If that isn't an oxymoron.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Monreal; Ransey, Wilshere; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Koscielny, Gibbs, Frimpong, Rosicky, Miyaichi, Sanogo.

Fenerbahce (4-2-3-1): Volkan, Gokhan, Alves, Korkmaz, Caner; Sahin, Meireles; Kuyt, Cristian, Sow; Emenike.
Subs: Gunok, Kaldirim, Irtegun, Potuk, Topuz, Ucan, Webo.

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)

19.00 No, I'm not having that. No, look, come on, it'll be great. Honestly. Take my hand. Come and sit on my lap. Actually, don't sit on my lap. That's a bit weird. Plus, it's a flagrant breach of live-blogger-reader privilege. But trust me on this one: it'll be fine. We are absolutely, definitely, not wasting our evenings here.

The new season is literally only seconds old. You're not bored of football already, are you? Granted, last night's fare was dire enough to put one off football for life. And granted, the second leg of this Champions League play-off is so dead it's been rumoured they're already planning a moving musical tribute to it at this year's Baftas.

Arsenal, lest we forget, lead Fenerbahce 3-0 from last week. But in death, as in life, there is plenty to cheer.

What sort of side will Arsenal put out? Will we finally get a look at Yaya Sanogo, perhaps the most maligned player in English football who is yet to kick a ball in English football?

How will Arsenal play when freed from pressure? Or can Fenerbahce, with their overpaid battery of ex-Premier League makeweights, put them under some pressure with an early goal? Will never-say-die Dirk Kuyt again refuse to say the word "die"?

Could Fenerbahce actually roar back into this tie, fired-up by a half-time team-talk so Churchillian that it could actually have been delivered by Churchill? (Although, of course, Turkey wasn't exactly Churchill's happiest hunting ground.)

Could they - don't mutter it, don't whisper it, don't even think it - even turn Arsenal over here?

Well, probably not. And yet there are still reasons to be thankful about this match. Be thankful, for instance, that you're not ITV, who are now contractually obliged to show this match tonight. It's like a midweek blockbuster movie premiere; except all the action, including the identity of both the killer and all his victims, happens in the first half of the film, which was on Sky.

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