The Besiktas vs Arsenal Champions League Playoff match will be played this Tuesday, August 19 (11:45 AM Pacific), at the Vodafone Arena.
This is the first leg of the final Champions League qualification round. The winner of this match will qualify for the group phase of the 2014/15 Champions League season.
Of course, Arsenal is the favorite in this match. The English club has played in every Champions League season starting from 1998/99, so it will be a great surprise if they don’t come up as a winner in this clash.
However, Besiktas will look for their chance. Their biggest reinforcement is the former Chelsea attacker Demba Ba, who was Arsene Wenger’s wish some time ago. He knows Arsenal very well, and he will be the biggest threat for the goal of the English team for sure! Demba Ba is in fine form, he scored three goals against Feyenoord in the last qualification round, so Arsenal should keep a close eye on him.
Also, Arsenal have had some problems right before this clash. Arsene Wenger told the press that Kieran Gibbs and Yaya Sanogo picked up injuries after the match with Crystal Palace, and they will be unavailable for this match. That means Nacho Monreal will feature along the left flank instead of Gibbs, and Olivier Giroud will take his place in the heart of Arsenal’s attack instead of Sanogo. Walcott and Gnabry are still injured, new goalkeeper Ospina is not ready either, and Wenger will give more time to the World Cup winners Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski, so there are lots of unavailable players for the English side. Still, they are favorites in this match, even though they aren’t playing at their home turf.
On the other hand, Besiktas has only one player which is doubtful for this match, but he is, along Demba Ba, a key man for this team. That is, of course, Atiba Hutchison, the experienced midfield general of the Turkish team. If he doesn’t get to feature in this game, Serdar Kurtulus should take his place.
Prediction- Arsenal wins 2-1
In this game, Arsenal will probably rely on their lethal counter attack. They will wait for Besiktas to open up, but on the other hand, the Turks know that, and they will probably attack very carefully, and won’t leave a lot of space in the back. However, they also know that if they want to eliminate Arsenal, they will have to win the first match, since it is hard to expect that Besiktas could harm the Gunners at the Emirates stadium. Considering all the facts, we predict that Arsenal will win this game by 2:1.
The match will be televised on Fox Sports 1 USA, and Arsenal Player (stream).