Jack Wilshere says Arsenal will treat next Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier second leg with Besiktas as a ‘cup final’ as they look to secure safe passage to the group stage for the 17th successive season.
Recognising that the prestige and financial reward of playing in Europe’s premiere competition can help lure the best players to the Emirates, the England international noted:
“We always want to be in the Champions League and to attract players who can be in the Champions League.
“We know how big a game it is, and we will treat it as a cup final.”
The Gunners laboured on a poor pitch against the backdrop of vociferous home support but ensured they escaped Istanbul with a vital clean sheet despite the late dismissal of Aaron Ramsey.
“It was a hostile atmosphere,” reflected the 23-year-old. “I think we battled well and showed a different side to our game, especially at the end when we went down to 10 men, it was tough, so we did well.
“They are not going to just turn up (at the Emirates Stadium) and throw all of their hard work away. It is not going to be an easy game and we can’t take it for granted.
“They are going to come full of confidence from their performance in the first game and we are going to have to start how they did and take the game to them.”
On a night when most of Arsenal’s starting XI failed to click into gear, young Calum Chambers again shone bright.
Making his European debut, the 19-year-old never looked overawed by his surroundings and kept a calm head to mute the effectiveness of Demba Ba.
Acknowledging a big night in his career, Chambers told Arsenal Player: “It’s a fantastic experience for me at a stadium like that and a crowd like that. All the boys put in such a good effort and I think we deserved a 0-0, if not more.
“You’ve just got to stay switched on the whole time and stay focused for 90 minutes. At anytime they [Besiktas] can create chances and score. It’s another good experience for me playing against players of such quality.”
Arseblog News can’t help but be impressed by Chambers’ assured start in an Arsenal shirt and it would appear you dear readers agree. You’ve voted him Man of the Match against Man City, Crystal Palace and again last night…not bad for a back-up right back with little game time to his name.
Naturally, you’re not a fickle bunch…so when he does eventually make a mistake befitting his inexperience and tender years you’ll no doubt give him a pat on the back and a few words of encouragement.