Champions League - Ramsey brace sees Arsenal past Fenerbahce

Champions League, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 2 (Ramsey 25, 72) Fenerbahce 0 (Arsenal win 5-0 on aggregate)

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Champions League - Ramsey brace sees Arsenal past Fenerbahce
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Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey (L) celebrates with Yaya Sanogo after scoring his second goal against Fenerbahce (AFP)

The Welsh midfielder has been central to the recovery staged by Arsenal following the opening day Premier League loss to Aston Villa, now boasting three goals in three appearances after strikes in each half against the Turkish champions.

Arsenal led 3-0 from last week’s first leg in Istanbul but manager Arsene Wenger elected to start a full strength team, with Olivier Giroud flanked by Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott in attack.

The hosts dominated possession early on but nearly fell behind in bizarre circumstances when a ricochet off Raul Meireles forced Wojciech Szczesny into a reflex save.

But Ramsey opened the scoring after 25 minutes, with Theo Walcott setting up the Welshman for a simple finish from six yards following a neat through ball by Lukas Podolski.

Fenerbahce came close to restoring parity on the night, but Emmanuel Emenike saw his powerful drive turned on to the post by Szczesny, which was followed up by a close range stop from the same opposition player.

Things turned somewhat sour for Arsenal after the break when Podolski picked up an injury, ending the match on a stretcher as Kieran Gibbs replaced him.

The Turkish side found fresh impetuous in the second half, hitting Arsenal on the break as the hosts pushed for a second.

Indeed the Gunners nearly made it 2-0 through Santi Cazorla, but the Spaniard’s low half volley was tipped round the post by Volkan, who was keeping his side in the contest.

Arsenal eventually doubled their lead when Ramsey placed a controlled side-foot volley into the corner of Volkan’s net after a good cross by second half substitute Gibbs.

KEY MOMENTS

11’ CHANCE – Fenerbahce almost took a surprise lead in the most bizarre of circumstances, with Sagna’s clearance taking a ricochet off Meireles and bouncing towards goal. But Szczesny did well to make a reflex stop.

25’ GOAL – Arsenal finally got the ball rolling through Ramsey, who finished off a good move at the back post following build-up by Podolski and Walcott.

38’ WOODWORK – The visitors came close to restoring parity through Emenike but Szczesny comes to the rescue for Arsenal, tipping the powerful near-post shot on to the post.

48’ INJURY – Podolski ended his match on a stretcher after picking up an injury early in the second half. After his display against Fulham at the weekend Wenger will be hoping it’s nothing serious.

72’ GOAL – Ramsey doubled the home side’s advantage with an expertly taken side-foot volley finding the corner of Volkan’s net after good work on the wing by Gibbs.

80’ INJURY – Wilshere took a knock on the ankle and hit the turf with a grimace on his face. Strangely Wenger decided to keep the England midfielder on the field despite the scoreline. A popular decision with Roy Hodgson, I’m sure.

92’ CHANCE – Jenkinson almost capped an impressive display for Arsenal with his first senior goal for the club but the full-back’s strike from close range was somehow saved by Volkan.

KEY STATS

Arsenal have now qualified for the Champions League for 16 consecutive seasons.

Aaron Ramsey has now scored in three of the last four times Arsenal have faced Fenerbahce.

After scoring twice against Fenerbahce Aaron Ramsey now has six goals in 28 European games, compared to seven goals in 104 league games.

TALKING POINT

With Wenger seemingly still keen on bringing in a central midfielder before the end of the transfer window does the emergence of Ramsey as a genuine goal-threat in the middle change things at the Emirates? Is the Welshman finally fulfilling the potential he displayed earlier in his career?

MAN OF THE MATCH – Aaron Ramsey

The Welsh midfielder has taken on the responsibility of providing goals from the centre of midfield this season and is in the form of his life. Alongside Wilshere and Cazorla Ramsey provided a level of energy, creativity and productivity not always associated with his game.

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal – Szczesny 8, Monreal 6, Mertesacker 5, Sagna 5, Jenkinson 6, Ramsey 9, Wilshere 7, Cazorla 8, Walcott 5, Podolski 6, Giroud 6. Subs – Gibbs 6, Sanogo 4, Miyaichi 4.

Fenerbahce – Volkan 8, Gonul 6, Alves 5, Egemen 5, Erkin 5, Sahin 6, Meireles 6, Cristian 5, Kuyt 5, Sow 6, Emenike 7. Subs –Webo 4.

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