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Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Arsenal 0-0 Fenerbahce

By Chris Bevan

Robin van Persie
Van Persie hit the bar for Arsenal in the first half

Arsenal were held at home by Fenerbahce after missing several early chances in their Champions League Group G clash.

The Gunners were dominant and went close when Robin van Persie prodded his shot wide from Cesc Fabregas's pass.

Van Persie saw another goalbound shot blocked before his fierce effort was tipped on to the bar by Volkan Demirel.

In the second half, Van Persie headed over when well placed but, although Arsenal enjoyed all the possession, they ran out of ideas before the end.

In contrast to their disappointing league results in recent weeks, Arsenal's European form has been impressive - particularly when they dismantled Fenerbahce to claim a thumping win in Turkey a fortnight ago.

So the chance to seal their progress to the knockout stages should have offered a welcome distraction from domestic matters but, instead, the build-up to this game was dominated by the fall-out of Saturday's defeat by Stoke, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger having to insist in a pre-match press conference that his side do not lack the stomach for a fight.

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That issue was not a factor here as Fenerbahce did not adopt the same battling approach which served Stoke so well at the Britannia Stadium, although Roberto Carlos did launch a couple of long throws into the home penalty area.

But another criticism of Arsenal is that, for all their attractive passing football, they sometimes lack a cutting edge - and that was their prevalent problem here.

The Gunners were completely on top in the first half and Van Persie could easily have claimed a hat-trick had he shown more composure, and also been slightly luckier, in front of goal.

His first opportunity came when he ran on to Fabregas's chipped pass and beat Volkan to the ball but saw his first time shot drift inches wide.

Fabregas was also involved in Arsenal's next clear-cut chance when Volkan fumbled the Spaniard's shot into Van Persie's path but this time the Dutchman saw his shot blocked by Diego Lugano.

Van Persie, who also had a free-kick deflected the wrong side of the post by Roberto Carlos's header, went close again before the break when he met Kolo Toure's pass and turned inside the box before seeing Volkan touch his shot on to the bar.

Fenerbahce had managed little more than some harmless shots from range in response but they went in at the break level when the game should really have been over and the frustration among the home fans at the Emirates was evident.

The second half began with Ugur Boral forcing a save from Lukasz Fabianski after running clear but, after that, Arsenal continued to do all the pressing.

They were still having little joy in the final third, however, and if anything chances began to dry up.

Van Persie should have done much better when he rose unmarked to meet Gael Clichy's cross but for the most part Arsenal's attacks were now breaking down outside the visitors' penalty area.

And by now it was clear that this was not going to be the tonic that Wenger's side needed ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.

In fact the Gunners received another blow before the end when defender Mikael Silvestre came off with a suspected broken nose, joining an already lengthy injury list.

It was the travelling Fenerbahce fans making all the noise at the final whistle on a disappointing night for the Gunners.

They remain top of their group but Porto's win over Dynamo Kiev has brought them back into the qualification equation and Arsenal will need to beat the Ukrainian side here later this month to make sure of their progress.


Arsenal: Fabianski, Toure, Djourou, Silvestre (Song Billong 83), Clichy, Ramsey (Diaby 59), Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner (Vela 59), Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Sagna, Wilshere, Gibbs.

Booked: Djourou, Van Persie.

Fenerbahce: Demirel, Gonul, Edu Dracena, Lugano, Roberto Carlos (Wederson 68), Maldonado (Josico 68), Sahin, Boral, Kazim-Richards (Bilgin 59), Senturk, Guiza.
Subs Not Used: Babacan, Yilmaz, Cakmak, Deivid.

Booked: Sahin, Lugano, Wederson.

Att: 60,003

Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal's Robin van Persie 7.33 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
'Unfair' treatment angers Wenger
05 Nov 08 |  Arsenal
Champions League as it happened
05 Nov 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
05 Nov 08 |  Football
Walcott & Gallas may face Man Utd
04 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Adebayor injury blow hits Arsenal
05 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Fenerbahce 2-5 Arsenal
21 Oct 08 |  Europe
Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto
30 Sep 08 |  Europe
Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Arsenal
17 Sep 08 |  Europe


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