Champions League: Fenerbahce Host Arsenal in Crunch UCL Play-off Match

By Aydin Reyhan
IconSport/USA TODAY Sports

The Champions League Play-off round begins this Tuesday with Fenerbahce hosting Premier League powerhouse Arsenal at their Sukru Sacoglu Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.

This may be a home match, but in no way will it be easy for the hosts.

Arsenal have played in the group stages of this tournament for the past several years because whether they automatically qualified or jumped in through the play-offs, they have proven time and time again that they know what it takes to get there.

Fenerbahce are dealing with match-fixing scandals in the back of their minds while playing as heartily as possible on the field. This is a challenge they will definitely relish and they honestly do have the talent to perhaps defeat this English side, especially on home soil.

Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles, Bruno Alves, Joseph Yobo, Moussa Sow and Emmanuel Emenike are the foreigners that Fener absolutely have to rely on to win this game. They can also take comfort from the fact that Galatasaray managed to defeat them in England for the Emirates Cup. Even though that was a friendly tournament, both teams still tried very hard and Gala had come out on top. Fener, being the next best team Turkey has to offer, has to look to repeat that feat.

The gameplan will have to be different than a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 as Arsenal are very good at defending against those specific formations. 4-3-3 is a formation they have mastered under coach Arsene Wenger because of their technical ability both individually and as a team and their blistering speed when they attack.

So, how can Fener defeat them then?

The Turkish giants have to play a 4-4-2 to have enough help in the defense, midfield and two strikers who will have to play off of one another to create as many goal scoring opportunities as possible. The team can win the home leg by one or even two goals if they execute that type of plan. However, it will be up to head coach Ersun Yanal to execute a plan to win a game that they are not expected to.

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