Arsenal brush aside Fenerbahce with Ramsey brace to reach Champions League group stage
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 2 Fenerbahce 0
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey netted both goals as Arsenal cruised through to the group stages of the Champions League with a 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbahce.
Leading by three goals from the first leg, the Gunners rarely looked like surrendering their advantage as Ramsey – who had also notched one of their goals in Istanbul – scored in each half.
But the night was marred by an injury to Lukas Podolski, who limped off early in the second half to further reduce Arsenal’s limited options in attack ahead of the north London derby against Tottenham this weekend.
Although they had the better of the first half, Arsenal were indebted to Wojciech Szczesny, who made two reaction saves to prevent the visitors from opening their account.
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Carl Jenkinson was caught in possession and, when Bacary Sagna’s hurried clearance rebounded goalwards off Raul Meireles, the Arsenal goalkeeper had to claw the ball away.
And late in the first half the Szczesny did well to turn a powerful effort from Emmanuel Emenike against the post after the Nigerian striker had given Sagna the slip.
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By then, the Gunners had awakened from their early stupor and Jack Wilshere burst through to set up Olivier Giroud, whose curling effort sailed wide of the far post.
The goal that the game required arrived in the 25th minute, with Podolski cutting inside to thread a pass for Theo Walcott and as goalkeeper Volkan Demirel advanced, the ball spun loose for Ramsey to sweep into the net.
The keeper came out again soon afterwards to foil Giroud, but at the other end Arsenal looked vulnerable and it was only thanks to Szczesny’s save from Emenike that they went in 1-0 up at the break.
Fenerbahce flickered into life again at the start of the second half, with substitute Kieran Gibbs getting in a block to deny Dirk Kuyt, and Moussa Sow firing a chance over the bar.
But it was the home side who looked more likely to add further goals as Santi Cazorla latched onto a Gibbs flick and unleashed a sizzling left-foot drive that Demirel did well to tip around the post.
Walcott rattled the woodwork soon afterwards with an angled free-kick that looped over Demirel, but it was Ramsey who eventually doubled the Gunners’ lead on 73 minutes.
A flowing move on the left, involving Cazorla and Yaya Sanogo, found Gibbs streaking into space and he cut the ball back for the Welshman, who prodded it first time beyond the helpless keeper.
Late on, Arsenal might have inflicted further punishment on the visitors as Cazorla’s free-kick thudded into the wall and Demirel denied both Wilshere and Giroud.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Monreal; Ramsey; Walcott (Miyaichi 74), Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski (Gibbs 49); Giroud (Sanogo 60).