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Arsenal clashes are our toughtest Euro games - Roberto Carlos

PUBLISHED: 15:50 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:31 07 September 2010

Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos, a past Champions League winner with Real Madrid, admits Arsenal are favourites to win when his new club, Fenerbahce, meet Arsenal in the group stages of the competition on Tuesday night. You certainly face tough oppone

Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos, a past Champions League winner with Real Madrid, admits Arsenal are favourites to win when his new club, Fenerbahce, meet Arsenal in the group stages of the competition on Tuesday night.

"You certainly face tough opponents in the Champions League," he said.

"Our next two matches in the competition against Arsenal will be very hard."

But it will be tough for Arsenal too, writes Jem Maidment.

Fenerbahce, based in the well-heeled cosmopolitan Istanbul district of Kadikoy, are unbeaten in 15 home European ties and have Spain's Euro 2008-winning manager Luis Aragones at the helm.

Recognised by many, despite the protestations of city rivals Galatasaray - who have won more trophies - and Besiktas, as the biggest club in Turkey, their imposing Sukru Saracoglu stadium has been completely rebuilt since the turn of the Millennium, a magnificent transformation from an antiquated dustbowl into one of Europe's leading arenas.

Last term it famously hosted a 2-1 win over Chelsea, with Arsenal-supporting Colin Kazim-Richards, born in Leytonestone, scoring. The new campaign, though, has started badly with four defeats from their first six Super Lig fixtures, culminating in a 4-1 home loss to Kaysirspor in their last league match. They currently lie in 12th place.

In the cay bahces - tea gardens - that hug the shores of the Bosporus, the talk has already turned to how long the Fenerbahce board will give Aragones to turn around their dismal start.

In addition, former Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoolu (thigh) and key defender Gokhan Gonul (foot) are big doubts for the visit of Arsenal, after picking up injuries in their last league outing.

And Arsene Wenger can take heart from his last visit to Fenerbahce, back in 1993/94, which ended in a 2-0 win for his side, AS Monaco.

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk


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