Luis Aragonés believes Fenerbahçe SK must show real desire against Arsenal FC if they are to register their first victory in Group G on Tuesday and extend an impressive unbeaten run at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.
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With Fenerbahçe SK taking on "the best team in the group ... maybe the world" when they entertain Arsenal FC, coach Luis Aragonés believes the Turkish side must show real desire if they are to register their first victory in Group G and extend an impressive unbeaten run at the Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium.
'Vital to win'
Fenerbahçe may be undefeated in 15 European home games, but their scoreless draw against FC Dynamo Kyiv in Istanbul last time out left last season's quarter-finalists bottom of the section and needing a pick-me-up when they take on the leaders on Tuesday. "Our only aim is to beat Arsenal in front of our fans, so we'll approach the task with this attitude and look to play with the right mentality and intensity," said Aragonés. "What we need to do is show how much we really want to be successful in the Champions League."
The Canaries registered their first away points of the Süper Lig season on Saturday, with Semih Şentürk returning from an ankle injury to score an added-time winner in a 3-2 triumph at Kocaelispor. The Turkey forward may not have replicated his UEFA EURO 2008™ form this term, yet he could have an important role against the Gunners. "Semih is an influential figure but I think he could be even more influential if he made runs at the opposing defence from deep," said Aragonés, who will deploy Daniel Güiza as his spearhead with Semih tucked in behind.
Despite their 4-0 victory against FC Porto on Matchday 2, Aragonés does not subscribe to the theory that Arsenal are a team whose mantra is solely to attack. "I don't agree with the convention that Arsenal are a side who always think of going forward," said the 70-year-old. "When you analyse them, you see that they play with five midfielders and leave a single striker with an emphasis on counterattacking. You might even see them defending with nine men. Nevertheless, my philosophy is to focus on my own team."
Both coaches face selection dilemmas. Deivid, Gökçek Vederson, Josico and Emre Belözoğlu are all absent for Fenerbahçe, although Gökhan Gönül could be fit to feature at right-back. Arsène Wenger suffered a blow on Monday when Kolo Touré was ruled out with a shoulder injury, joining fellow first-choice defenders William Gallas and Bacary Sagna on the sidelines. Nicklas Bendtner and Johan Djourou have been given the all-clear, however, after sitting out Saturday's 3-1 Premier League victory against Everton FC.
Mikaël Silvestre, a UEFA Champions League winner in the colours of Manchester United FC last term, is expected to start in central defence with goalkeeper Manuel Almunia installed as captain in the absence of Gallas. "It will be useful to have a player of Silvestre's experience – I don't think there's a ground left in Europe where he hasn't played," said Wenger. The Frenchman knows Fenerbahçe's lowly league placing, tenth, will have no bearing, saying: "They might not have made a good start in either competition but they have the quality. We know they'll be a real threat and we want to start solidly to reduce their self-confidence."