Wenger backs his young Gunners to make Champions League headway
PUBLISHED: 14:46 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 07 September 2010
Arsene Wenger is targeting victory over Fenerbahce at The Emirates Stadium next month to seal qualification to the Champions League knockout stages after they destroyed the Turks in Istanbul on Tuesday night, writes Jem Maidment. The Gunners 5-2 win sha
Arsene Wenger is targeting victory over Fenerbahce at The Emirates Stadium next month to seal qualification to the Champions League knockout stages after his young Gunners destroyed the Turks in Istanbul on Tuesday night, writes Jem Maidment.
The Gunners' 5-2 win shattered Fenerbahce's 15-match unbeaten home record in Europe and kept them top of Group G, two points clear of Dynamo Kiev, who earned a shock 1-0 win at Porto.
But it remains to be seen if Arsenal produce as many fireworks when the Turkish champions visit north London on November 5.
"Fenerbahce are a very dangerous, attacking team but our experience and technique made the difference tonight," said Wenger, who celebrated his 59th birthday on Wednesday.
"We are 60 per cent away [from qualification] and as long as it is not done we want to keep our focus.
"We need one more victory to say that we will progress from this stage."
Emmanuel Adedayor and Theo Walcott gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes before Mikael Silvestre put one through his own net to give Fenerbahce hope.
But the outstanding Abou Diaby, playing in an unexpected attacking midfield role, made it 3-1 before the break with a strong run and finish before Alex Song blasted home a fourth from close range.
Daniel Guiza, who missed three glorious opportunities earlier on, finally pulled a second back for the hosts but substitute Aaron Ramsey restored Arsenal's three-goal advantage in injury time with a brilliant turn and shot off a post.
Fenerbahce coach Luis Aragones admitted his side faced an uphill struggle in the remainder of the group stage.
"Arsenal pressured us a lot in the first 11 minutes and by then it was already 0-2," said Aragones, who led Spain to Euro 2008 glory in the summer.
"After that we scored a goal but it was not enough. We focused too much on the attacking side of our game and didn't concentrate enough on defence.
"We still have a chance to qualify, or at least progress to the Uefa Cup. We have to learn from our mistakes when we play the return on November 5."
l Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday with a trip to West Ham followed by a home north London derby against Spurs on Wednesday.