Arsene Wenger has labeled Arsenal’s clash with Fenerbahce as ‘vital’ as they look to book their place in the Champions League group stage.
The Turkish side are still awaiting a decision from the Court of Arbitration to see if they can continue in Europe for the next two years after being banned for match-fixing. However the verdict will be announced on 28 August, the day after the second leg match and Wenger has said his team cannot rely on the CAS ruling.
“It’s a vital game for us, because we have fought very hard to be in this position. We finished just two points behind Chelsea, the last game was decisive, and just one point above Tottenham.”
“We need 10 games unbeaten at the end to achieve that and we want to finish the job now.”
“You cannot gamble on [the CAS ruling]. What is important for us is the pride of any football club to win on the pitch. All the rest is less important, so that is what we want to achieve.
The Gunners face a difficult task to qualify with as much as 10 first team players unavailable due to injury or suspension. The club have failed to strengthen the squad in the summer and paid for it with a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa. The fixture in Turkey is even more important but it’s unlikely the club will be able to draft in any players in time for Wednesday’s clash.
Youngsters like Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom could be used to decided the clubs European fate.