Arsenal could secure their passage to the last 16 on Wednesday, while Fenerbahce stand on the brink of Champions League elimination.
For leaders Arsenal, three points combined with a victory for Dynamo Kyiv against Porto would ensure their qualification. However, during his pre-match press conference, Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger was compelled to offer a defence of his players against the accusation they lack heart following Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Stoke City.
“When you question the courage of my team, I am sorry – the team that tries to play football respecting the rules is the brave one,” said Wenger, who at the weekend saw forwards Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott extend an injury list also including captain William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue.
“The problem is not the bravery of my players … the problem is we have not been efficient in some games. Let’s re-establish what we have not done well recently – defended well as a team – and continue to play the game we can play in a positive way.”
The fact Fenerbahce, beaten 5-2 at home by Arsenal on Matchday 3, have not recorded an away victory over 90 minutes in the competition for four years means the pressure is on the Turkish visitors.
They have just one point and a defeat here will eliminate them if Dynamo win the group’s other fixture. Fortunately, for Luis Aragones’s men the fit-again Deivid returns, although skipper Alex misses out with a thigh strain.
Aragones was happy to eulogise about Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas with whom he enjoyed Euro 2008 success with Spain.
“Fabregas is an extraordinary player but principally what bothers me is my own team,” Aragonés said. “We have our strengths and we have to show them. We made some mistakes in the first game but every game is different in the Champions League and we go out to win every game – tomorrow that will be our aim.”