Arsenal put their recent troubles to one side as they comfortably beat Fenerbahce 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off in Turkey.
Ten minutes later they doubled their lead, Aaron Ramsey finding himself in space on the edge of the Fenerbahce area and firing in a low shot which Volkan could only parry into his bottom corner.
Walcott then superbly controlled a crossfield ball before being bundled over by Michal Kadlec in the box leaving the referee with little option but to point to the spot. Olivier Giroud slotted home from twelve yards to compound a miserable night for the hosts.
Fenerbahce struggled to retain possession throughout the match and subsequently failed to create many chances of note, Kladec coming the closest when his late shot from inside the area forced Wojciech Szczesny to stretch and save.
The second leg takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday 27 August.
PRE-MATCH: Arsene Wenger keeps faith with players – Despite their opening day defeat to Aston Villa, Wenger elected to field 10 of the 11 who started that match.
51’ - GOAL: Arsenal make the breakthrough. Ramsey slips in Walcott with a disguised pass but instead of shooting the winger lays it across the face of goal. Gibbs is waiting at the back post and prods into the roof of the net.
64’ - GOAL: Ramsey lines up a shot from distance. It doesn't look to have the required quality to beat Volkan but the keeper parries it into the bottom corner.
77’ - PENALTY: Walcott controls a crossfield ball perfectly and then invites a challenge from Kadlec. The referee points to the spot, perhaps after consultation with the fifth official behind the goal. Giroud steps up.
77’ - GOAL: Giroud vs. Volkan from 12 yards. The Frenchman sidefoots past the keeper into the top corner. 3-0.
TALKING POINT: Will this result kick-start Arsenal’s season? Every time Arsene Wenger is under pressure he seems to get a result. This was the latest instalment as Arsenal outplayed Fenerbahce from start to finish in a hostile environment. With Champions League football all but guaranteed, the stage is set for Wenger to go out and spend money on players who will finally end their wait for silverware.
Arsenal have won all 11 of the Champions League qualifying matches.
Fenerbahce are yet to beat Arsenal in five attempts, losing three and drawing two.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Aaron Ramsey: Desperately close between him and Theo Walcott. The Welshman pulled the strings in midfield, creating the first goal before firing in the second which effectively killed the tie.
Fenerbahce: Vokan 5, Irtegun 5, Yobo 6, Bruno Alves 5, Kadlec 4, Topal 5, Meireles 6, Emre 5, Sow 6, Webo 4, Kuyt 6. Subs: Gonul 5, Emenike 6, Potuk 5
Arsenal: Szczesny 7, Sagna 7, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 6, Gibbs 7, Rosicky 7, Wilshere 7, Ramsey 8, Cazorla 7, Giroud 7, Walcott 8. Subs: Jenkinson 7, Podolski 6, Monreal 6
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Theo Walcott
- Arsene Wenger
- Aaron Ramsey
- Olivier Giroud
- Kieran Gibbs