Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Report: Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas

Arsenal: Szcsesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Alexis

Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Rosicky, Coquelin, Podolski, Sanogo, Campbell

Arsenal qualified for the group stages of the Champions League after a battling 1-0 win over Besiktas at the Emirates this evening.

Arsene Wenger continued with Alexis in the main striking role, but added Santi Cazorla to the side in place of the suspended Aaron Ramsey while Laurent Koscielny came in for Calum Chambers at the centre of the defence.

The game began at a hectic pace with both sides pushing forward in the opening couple of minutes. Demba Ba had an early shot blocked while Arsenal looked to get down the right hand side with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Debuchy finding space.

The Gunners had the first clear chance of the game in the 9th minute. Alexis was fouled about 35 yards from goal, the referee played a great advantage and Wilshere took the ball on into the box but dragged his shot wide.

Moments later Cazorla had a chance to lob the keeper from distance after great closing down from Alexis but the ball went well wide, before Oxlade-Chamberlain’s bursting run down the right resulted in a dangerous cross which the visitors just managed to get clear.

Mathieu Debuchy picked up a 14th minute yellow card for a careless shoulder on Sahan as the visitors got back into the game after Arsenal’s bright start. Wojciech Szczesny had to be alert to claim a ball over the top for Ba right on the edge of his area, and the home side struggled to threaten.

A 24th minute free kick from Alexis represented a shot on target but it didn’t have the power to trouble Zengin, while Ozyakup and Kavlak picked up bookings for the Turkish side.

Debuchy had to save Arsenal’s bacon in the 34th minute with a crucial last ditch tackle inside the area, and at the other end Nacho Monreal fired a long shot over the bar. Besiktas were screaming for a penalty five minutes later when Motta went down in the box under a challenge from Wilshere but the referee, standing yards away, was having none of it as it looked as the player kicked the ground.

At the other end Wilshere lobbed a little pass to Alexis inside the box, but his first touch was a bit off and the keeper did enough to snuff out the danger. But it was a sign of things to come as the £30m man put the Gunners ahead in first half injury time.

Debuchy got down the right and put in a good cross which Besiktas failed to clear properly. The ball came to Wilshere, he ran it into the box, it came for the Chilean who sidefooted home from close range to give the Arsenal a 1-0 lead at the break.

Arsenal began the second period much like the first with a dangerous break down the right which almost presented a chance for Santi Cazorla, and the Spaniard had a go in the 51st minute, firing a ball across goal after superb work from Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Ox was involved again providing Wilshere with the space to set up Alexis for a chance which almost doubled the lead, but his close range shot deflected out for a corner. The former Barcelona man tried again but saw his shot blocked when he might have set up Wilshere.

Former Arsenal man Ozyakup fired a 25 yard free kick over the bar after Koscielny had been penalised, before Debuchy headed a Cazorla set-piece into the side netting from a really tight angle.

There were hearts in red and white mouths when a mistake from Flamini allowed Demba Ba to shoot into the side netting, and with the nerves growing we looked a bit scared of what an away goal would mean.

However, Arsenal had two great chances to put the game to bed with Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain squandering brilliant opportunities to make it 2-0, before Debuchy picked up a second yellow card seconds later. It was harsh in the extreme as he won the ball but the referee still sent him off.

Arsenal made a change, putting on Chambers for Ozil, and the substitute was remarkably booked  for coming onto the pitch too quickly and made do a re-entrance. The youngster then got involved more positively setting up a chance for Alexis who scooped it over the bar from around the penalty spot.

Besiktas pressed for the equaliser and Arsenal had to work extremely hard, none more so than Santi Cazorla who was everywhere. Demba Ba somehow missed a cross at the back post in the 89th minute to get the vital goal, while Arsenal continued to battle defensively as the referee made bonkers decisions time and time again.

In the end though, Arsenal ground out a massive result and showed some real character to do it – and they qualify for the group stages of the Champions League for the 17th successive season.

Phew, but hurrah!

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What a great hearty and gritty performance by the lads. Besiktas are a great team but each player gave their all until the final whistle which is all you can ask for as a fan. Wilshere was MOTM for me.

Remember the invincibles

Feel like I played 180 minutes of football myself watching that. Phew. What a trigger happy referee.


Referee should give himself a straight red card after that performance.


After that performance, he’d accidentally give the red to one of his linesmen instead.


A ref ? what ref ? i didn’t see a ref.

Too Drunk To Be Offside

Yellow Card for typing without permission and a second yellow and a red for suggestion of linesman getting a direct red. He would get as we all learned today two yellows, just like you


Why is refereeing so poor in every single Arsenal’s Champions League Match? Huh….Should I give that a shit now!!


Indeed. In fact, I can confirm I’ve received a yellow card in my email, for swearing loudly at the TV when Chambers got booked.



A Yank

Yep, but year-in year-out the Portuguese league sees by far the highest number of red cards amongst the better Euro leagues. So with a Portuguese ref you had to figure there was a chance he would do it just from force of habit.

Still shit though.


Was anyone else listening to the audio commentary on arsenal.com with Nigel Winterburn?

I was holding my stomach from laughing so hard in the last 15 minutes. “Take the ball to the corner! Take the ball to the corner! THE DAMN CORNER!”

Classic commentary to what was a hillarious game in so many ways.


Haha, that actually sounds incredible. I hope they put the full match up on Arsenal Player so I can check that out!


Ref = bent.


darrent bent?

can we buy him?


Wiltshire was immense. But that ref was as trigger happy as an extra in OK Corale.

Remember the invincibles

Thumbs down for spelling wilshere wrong

Dive! Dive! Dive!

True. He’s a footballer, not an unremarkable English county.


Yup, guilty as charged. I guess the ref inspired in me new heights in trigger happy posting.


Should have red carded him for misspelling.

Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding

Thumbs down and red card for omitting the capital W in Wilshere.


Good news: Giroud will miss no more chances in 2014! That’s something to celebrate too 😀


So many sentiments for Giroud.. Makes me wanna cry :’)


Is this some kind of record, getting buried in thumbs-down twice in a row?


Fuck off, Spurs supporter.


C’mon is it that a big crime to joke when it’s on Giroud, seriously.
Btw what you just said is the worst thing you could ever say to a fellow gooner.




You are no fellow Gooner. Giroud was our leading scorer last year and second leading scorer the year before, and he’s a big miss. The only people who are glad he’s injured are Spurms and fucking idiots. Which are you? Or are you both?


Oops autocorrect
I meant long live Giroud. Giroud for president.
Giroud is love, Giroud is life.
Giirrrooouuudd <3 🙂

Norwegian gunner

You’re either a drunken idiot, sp*rs supporter or a cunty troll. The fact that you’re celebrating an Arsenal player’s injury proves that you’re not a gooner at all. Now go fuck yourself and leave this place to the true fans.

Sammy Nelsons Arse

Honourable mention for Alexis what a shift he put in especially after the Debuchy red !

Remember the invincibles

And Santi! He can defend when he chooses to

Arsenes Nose

Defends when he wants, defends when he wants, Santi Cazorla defends when he wants.


I think Özil was good today as well, at least going forward. The thought of him, Alexis and Theo clicking perfectly together gives me quite a massive erection.

Julio Baptista's humble alter ego

And what about Nacho Monreal! Solid display, back to his bloody best.


I love football and all, but it honestly never gives me an erection.

Too Drunk To Be Offside

Well done, what steel shown by the lads.

The ref gave me the feeling he was one of Nurse Ratched’s looney bin patients who had somehow sneaked into the ref’s dressing room, sandbagged the original ref and then worn his clothes and gone on to the field.

A good early test passed superbly. Also great that the new #17 got on the score sheet.


So we know we’ve got a Champions League worthy team. Ivan, Arsene, please go that extra mile, try and get us a Champions League winning one.


I was working and couldnt watch the game but I was really nervous! What a relieve!!!
Well done boys!!


Proud of the lads tonight.. slight nervy ending, wilshire notch up a gear tonight and takes MOTD . LMao @ Besiktas manager


If by “slightly nervy ending” you mean “chew out all ten of your fingernails slowly but completely”, then you my friend are a genius…

Remember the invincibles

I’m just quoting PHW here when ‘never in doubt’ 🙂

Edu's Braces

How the hell were fans leaving around the 88th minute?? I couldn’t believe it.

And how the HELL was Flamini not booked in a match like that? Twilight zone


I can only assume the regular leave-early brigade (and yes, they should be shamed every time, I don’t care for their excuses) are the same who boo our own players.


Its not something I do or necessarily agree with, but those 3-4 minutes can knock an hour off your return journey.

For people coming in from outside London it can make the difference between getting the last train or not.

I don’t live far outside London (15 mins train) and stay and clap the side off before heading out, but that means I get in at around 1am after midweek games.

People travel much further than me, so I don’t like, but can understand them getting a head-start on the other 60,000.

Edu's Braces

In general I have no real issue with it (especially after being over for the Tennis Masters in London and being stranded because I stayed till the end) but a match that big it was a bit nuts.


It could be worse, I lost visuals in the 86th minute. I think the game finished an hour later (or so it felt).

A Yank

Slightly. Yes, just.


Its not just the win, but the manner of the win. Well done boys

Wenger's Glasses

Yes! I love it when Arsenal play as aggressive & as fearless as this. This is how we should approach every games in the Champions League.

So proud. COYG!


I haven’t felt that anxious since the FA Cup final. Nothing like a scrappy win to get the heart pumping.


I felt more anxious… I was so pissed after 7 minutes of the FA cup the rest is a bit of a blur.


Arsenal of past(trophy drought) averaged a cardiac arrest on me per game


Really? Because it’s the forth game in a row I have to change pants after the final whistle

Tell me how many games we’ve played? I lost count…


Never. In. Doubt.
*Throws up and then grabs coat*

Sheffield Goon

25 million. Kerching.



I have no fingernails left. I need a drink…

Özil's Eyes on Arsene's Hot Thighs



Cazorla was just magnificent period. I dont’ think I’ve ever seen him work so hard defensively for the team, and yet he was also the one who seemed to best keep his bearings when Arsenal did get the ball back. People have been criticizing his form so far this season but that was a game he’ll be proud of for years.


Great refereeing

Today's Referee

Yellow Card, Sarcasm




Caps lock on. Second yellow and off.


You made my day and its only 6 minutes old (german Gooner here)

Dive! Dive! Dive!



Blood curdling officiating. But all is well that ends well.

Today's Referee

Red Card, 3 Match Ban, for judging an officials performance as if they followed the same rules as every other person in the world who does a job


Well he did waive away two possible penalty calls against us so I suppose it kinda evened out. Mind, both were NOT pens but on another day another ref, those might have been called.


that’s how I saw it – as the kind of terrible that eventually evens out and is equally terrible for everyone


It says everything about refereeing standards, that we should be thankful that he didn’t give the opposition 2 dodgy penalties.


Phew!!! Don’t do this to us again, Arsenal. Please…


you know they will. that’s why i love ’em.


Wilshere was immense!




He put in for a performance that should quiet some of the criticism. And he picked quite a good day to do it!

Today's Referee

Yellow Card, this report has gone up too quickly


Hard work pays off.

Mr. White

Podolski’s a goner. Wenger would’ve put him on but didn’t wanna make him cup tied. Brightside, we’re at least buyin a striker. Not a big fan of Arteta but you feel it so much when he’s not playin. Sayin that though, really hope we still bring in a decent defensive midfielder more than a defender


I think that had more to do with the Debuchy red card.


And try to run the season with just Mert Kos and a player that will also have to cover at right back? I’m sorry, but with our injury rates that makes no sense to me.


He wouldn’t have been cup tied. So if that was why Wenger’s reason…well, it wasn’t a very good one.

It seems to me the more obvious reason Poldi didn’t come on was because of that strange red card.


When we’re defending a massively important 1-0 lead, and we’ve got our right back sent off, do you really think Podolski is the man who should have to come to our rescue?

La Défènse

omg omg OMG you guys! The arsenal are through!!!


Felt bad for debuchy crying in the end. He played his heart out. Unfortunate to see red.

Away fan

Love the record signings scoring on European home debuts trend!


That other 59.7mil player might have to wait a while to score on his European home debut

Big Chief from Antarctica

Shite ref, heart attacks been found everywhere like fucking Easter.



The 35 million pound man returned the money by securing Champions league qualification 🙂


Jeeeeeeeeeezzzz that was stressful!
First of all the refereeing was really fkn poor in my opinion. Someone somewhere has deemed it mandate for us to finish with 10 men in European games. Absolute joke

Now! Alexis, jack, ox, monreal, ozil, flamini, debuchy, mert, kos, szcz, cazorla… Take a bow boys. All of you. Proper grit and determination all day.

Over to you arsene, get that cb,cdm and st we need and let’s have a fuckin go this year!


Mertesacker's Per

Alexis’s goal today was worth 25mil. He just recouped 2/3rds of his price tag.
Massive game from everyone today. And kudos to Besiktas too.
Today’s game was an advert for football.

La Défènse

Alexis Sanchez you beautiful man you!




Luckily I was at work for most of it. To those of you who sat through that and actually watched it…..you are better than me for sure.

I left work early got back and flipped it
on around the 73rd or so….and bang, Debuchy gets sent the fuck off. I turned it off and am at the bar now.

Good on everyone associated with Arsenal today….absolutely awesome.


bergkamp's hooped sock

North Carolina? I lived in NC for a while, cheers

Sam Gooner

May be we will be 17th time lucky….. Hey a man can dream



Now we need some serious reinforcements through the transfer market, to be competitive in the league for the title.

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Do you ever get the feeling that the commentators wanted Ba’s header to go in more than Chambo’s post – hitter in the first leg?

That includes you, Alan Smith.


Hey, don’t smudge the Smudger! We, who experienced Anfield ’89 won’t stand for it.


All that matters is results.

But oh boy this game was not good for my blood pressure!


Could have been worse. I lost picture on the 86th minute.

I think the game finished about an hour later. 🙂


Fantastic to get over the line, really pleased with everyones performances. Except the ref’s of course!


Alexis was phenomenal. Jack only flopped over once, and was excellent otherwise. Santi was so reliable. Debuchy fought and fought. Ox was a bulldozer. Proper fight.


*flopped over only once. How important was his awareness of the space around him when we needed him as an outlet to get the ball the hell away?

Boring Boring Arsenal

Alexis for motm with jack just behined


Definitely true, at least from a statistical standpoint. I just saw this: Wilshere had 5 successful dribbles (best in the match), 0 turnovers and was tackled 0 times. Also played 2 key passes, and was fouled just once. While these are outstanding stats, there’s something in particular that catches my eye: he was just fouled once. This, in conjunction with the dribbling stats shows that today he was a lot sharper to release the ball at the right time rather than drawing silly challenges, and did a good job of moving play along to prevent us getting boxed in, especially… Read more »

Arsene's Apologist

I think Alexis upfront just might work…


How could you assume something like that??? Didnt you see the first 45 minutes on saturday??!!!
(just taking the piss)


I nearly had a heart attack when Per elected not to head that ball and Ba missed it. Can’t question the character and the effort, but the tactics weren’t right, Ozyakup literally toyed with us in between the lines.


Yeah Ozyakup set up so many clear-cut chances for them it was…oh wait.

Silent Stan's Content Mustache

Ref was absolutely atrocious. He’s not good enough to referee girl pre-school games, much less CL qualif.

On the bright side, Alexis has a heart of a lion. Good goal, more to come.

La Défènse

Debuchy I love you regardless! Chin up man! Looked devastated at the end there…


Awesome win! You could tell the players wanted that. Carzola and Monreal with the hustle! Mertescielny acis of awesome was immense! Did i see Ozil win a tackle there? Ox and Sanchez with the strength and speed! The Arsenal are thru!!!!


Never in doubt. Great win.

Santi Caz is Gunning you down

except i was shitting myself for the last 20 minutes…


I could rebuild my garden wall with the bricks I shat during the last fifteen minutes, and hold them together with the cement I pissed.


Fuck yeah!!! Everyone was man of the match, but mostly Carthola for defending so well when we were 10 men.

Sam Gooner

Wilshere was good wasn’t he? Am i the only one who thinks he and Ramsey have a hard time playing together

Le Prof

Nope…we all do. Really it’s just that we can’t have them both go bombing forward every time we attack. A bit of better communication and they’ll be fine playing together.


And it’s strange that they’re having such difficulty getting on the same wavelength this year, isn’t it? I can remember the beginning of last year and the end of the year before, they were so in tune they looked they were one single mind in two bodies. I wonder what happened?

Boo the boo boys

At the moment it doesn’t seem to be happening when both are on the pitch together but I think over time they will have a great on field partnership. They just need games.


I thought Jack was excellent, credit where it’s due


Cazorla was busy in offence as ever, but in defence – he was a revelation. Never seen the little Spaniard work so hard and give as good as he got.


Also, does anyone still think Alexis can’t play center-forward. I’m not even talking about the goal. He was muscular and fast and made things happen.


Sorry! meant to thumbs up. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement.


I remember all this talk about him being “one of the world’s top-10 forwards” … and now that seems to have been quickly brushed under the carpet as pundits and certain fans look to set agendas.

He can easily play up top for us. We’ll still need to adapt our attacks as the guy loves to face goal, not turn his back on it like Giroud. This is not a criticism of Giroud by any means, mind you.


Yeah it’s just a different kind of hold up play to Giroud. He’s also got a great jump on him, won a few today I really didn’t expect him to. If he is our no. 2 center forward option, I’m really happy that we’ve got 2 proper battlers.


He also defends well, as does Giroud – again, however, in a different fashion. Where Giroud will come back and win headers, Alexis tackles as soon as we’ve lost the ball. They’re both super forwards, each with his own strengths, and with those two up front I’m pretty satisfied with our options. Too bad Giroud’s crocked for four months, but I’ve no doubt Alexis can carry the load until he’s back.


Wtf that was shit scary man but I loved it

Dalston Artist Wanker

I felt the same way about the first “Grave Encounters” film.

The second was rubbish though.

Sorry, wrong forum.


That referee tho?! Ridiculous.

Chaillah the Gunner

I was watching from my telly,but the referee also gave me a yellow card


big win, under pressure, good signs for the rest of the season.


Jack was MOTM for me, guys!

Good Omens

Enthused about the fighting spirit. Not too troubled about us not clicking into gear as yet, that will come, but the fact that the lads are fighting tooth and nail for everything is a great sign. Well done Jack, did your talking on the pitch and stepped up, good to see. Big relief and on we go, happy.


Piece of cake, easy work.

Now let me go clean the shat down my leg.


….so the cake went straight through?

You need some roughage, lad.

not a comedian

Lol..haven’t laughed that hard in a while…actually had to re-read the original post before I “read it your way”!


When the player ratings come out, sanchez gets a 10. What a performance. Skill, commitment everything. Stunning.


Everyone gets a 10..

Ref gets 2 yellow card + 1 red.


great win cause it was a hard one. well done to the team they showed spirit. the ref was awful.no way debuchy deserve a second yellow.chambers cameo was impressive.jack seems to get back to his best game after game.this season could be his.
bring on the last signings now

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