London – Mission one accomplished. The brief for mission two is simple: spend, spend, spend.
Arsenal booked their place in the Champions League group stages last night, easily overcoming Fenerbahce.
Arsene Wenger now has until Monday night to overcome his problems in the transfer window.
Qualifying for the knock stages will further boost Arsenal’s burgeoning transfer kitty – but money isn’t the problem.
Moves for Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Wayne Rooney have all ended in disappointment.
It remains to be seen if attempts to land Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Yohan Cabaye and Vicente Guaita will fall the same way.
Despite back-to-back wins, talk of a crisis at the Emirates Stadium is never too far away.
Before kick off, Wenger insisted the tie wasn’t over despite the Turks facing a mountain to climb after Arsenal’s 3-0 first-leg win at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles had the first effort on target inside the opening two minutes, firing a low drive from 20 yards straight in to the arms of Wojciech Szczesny.
The goalkeeper then had to produce a brilliant double save to deny two Meireles efforts from close range after some less than impressive defending by the hosts deep inside their own box.
Ersun Yanal’s side had no choice but to throw caution to the wind after last week’s disastrous display in their homeland.
Slowly but surely Wenger’s men stemmed the early Turkish tide to take control of proceedings.
Theo Walcott forced visiting keeper Volkan Demirel into a good save with a low, fierce effort from the edge of the box after easily moving past Meireles in the 15th minute – before Olivier Giroud’s curled effort from Jack Wilshere’s pass sailed just wide.
But the home side only had to wait another 10 minutes before essentially booking their place in Thursday’s Champions League draw in Nyon after a brilliant move involving Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey and Walcott.
Podolski, fresh from his brace against Fulham on Saturday, was afforded space just outside Fenerbahce’s 18-yard box before playing an inch-perfect pass into Walcott, who in turn found Ramsey. The Welshman did the rest, sweeping home from close range.
Ramsey has arguably been Arsenal’s best performer during the opening weeks of the season and he was at the forefront for Wenger’s men again in the 33rd minute. He sent Giroud in with a delicious pass – but the France striker could only shoot straight at Demirel. Fenerbahce came within inches of levelling four minutes before the break as Moussa Sow escaped the attentions of Bacary Sagna down the left to manipulate himself a clear sight of goal.
But the forward was denied by a brilliant save from Szczesny.
Wenger’s side should have doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. But Giroud, who has scored three in as many games this season, somehow fired over the bar from close range after Nacho Monreal’s low cross.
Wenger was hit by yet another injury concern four minutes into the second period as Podolski was stretchered off with what looked like a hamstring injury, to be replaced by Kieran Gibbs.
The Arsenal manager had nothing to worry about on the field as his side calmly took the sting out of the encounter during the opening second-half exchanges.
Santi Cazorla and Walcott both went close to increasing Arsenal’s lead before man of the moment Ramsey doubled his tally for the night, cooly slotting home Gibbs’ low cross in the 72nd minute as Arsenal cruised home. – Daily Mail