Arsenal seized the initiative in their Champions League qualifying play-off tie with Besiktas on Tuesday, drawing 0-0 in the first leg in Turkey to take a slender advantage back to north London. However, the result came at a price.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey was handed a red card for two bookable offences with 80 minutes on the clock, and while the Gunners managed to hold out for a draw, the Welshman will be out of next week’s second leg at the Emirates.
In a game of few chances, the best of the action came in the opening five seconds, as former Newcastle United and Chelsea star tried to find the net straight from the kick-off for the hosts, as Football Vines revealed:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hitting the post late was as good as it got for a lacklustre Arsenal side, but it was job done as far as they were concerned.
Both managers will fancy their chances of progression from the second leg, and from a neutral perspective, let’s hope they decide to put on a show next time around.
A difficult game played at a frenetic pace throughout. We could have won it but they had chances as well. In the end we didn't lose and hopefully we will make it at home. Both yellow cards for Aaron Ramsey are unbelievable When you see the fouls they have made today it's not serious. Just not serious.
Any other reaction from Wenger to the Welshman’s dismissal would have been a real shock to the system, but as unfair as he thinks the red card was, it won’t be overturned.
That means that the French manager will need to find a way to replace his mercurial midfielder, but the way that Oxlade-Chamberlain performed from the bench in Turkey means that a straight swap could be on the cards.
The way that Bilic sets his side up means that the Gunners will need to be at their best next week no matter the line-up. But on the Emirates pitch with the visitors likely to adopt a defensive setup, Arsenal should put themselves in the Champions League hat.