European Draws: Arsenal face tricky trip to Fenerbahce

Arsene Wenger won't be too happy about drawing Fenerbahce

The balls are out of the bag in the latest European draws. Tottenham and Swansea will be beaming, Arsenal not so much...

"The awkward nature of the clash has shifted Arsenal’s outright Champions League price on the exchange from 28.027/1 to 30.029/1."


The Gunners face a difficult trip to Fenerbahce in the play-off round of the Champions League. Negotiating the first leg in Turkey without any major mishaps will be the key if the north Londoners are serious about maintaining their fantastic qualification record for the group stages.

Arsenal's seeding meant that a tie with AC Milan, Schalke, Lyon or Zenit was impossible but Arsene Wenger won't be doing much fist-pumping regarding a very tricky trip to the hostile Sukru Saracoglu Stadium. The awkward nature of the clash has shifted Arsenal's outright Champions League price on the exchange from 28.027/1 to 30.029/1.

Fenerbahce will provide Arsenal with a severe test, and come to town towing some familiar names. Former Everton star Joseph Yobo is their backbone, while former Liverpool pair Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt bring quality to the side.

Wenger will know the importance of Champions League qualification, not only for Ivan Gazidis' profit margins but with one eye on the club's ability to tempt Luis Suarez - 1.845/6 to leave Liverpool - or even Wayne Rooney - 1.684/6 to move this summer - to the club over the next few weeks.

No Champions League football would surely close the door on the chances of pulling in a world class striker. With that in mind, it's not really surprising to see Arsenal drift out slightly for the Premier League title following the draw, from 11.010/1 to 11.5.

One angle that could potentially play a huge part in the tie is the fact that Fenerbahce are awaiting a final ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over whether they will actually be allowed to go actually go into the competition proper.

The Turks have challenged a match-fixing charge and a decision is not expected until the start of the group stages. What could transpire, although not confirmed by CAS, is that Arsenal may get knocked out but still will qualify if the match-fixing ban on Fenerbahce is upheld.

Celtic, who can be backed at 250.0249/1 to land the Champions League, travel to central Asia to take on Kazakhstan champions Shakhter Karagandy for their first leg, in what looks a very winnable tie for Neil Lennon's side.

In the Europa League, both English clubs will be dancing for joy. Swansea play FC Petrolul Ploiesti of Romania and Tottenham have been drawn with FC Dinamo Tbilisi of Georgia. Spurs are the clear favourites for Europa League glory at 13.012/1, whilst you can get 33.0 on Swansea winning their first ever major European title.

Selected matches:

Champions League
Shakhtyor Karaganda v Celtic
Fenerbahce v Arsenal

Europa League
Swansea v Petrolul Ploiesti
Dinamo Tbilisi v Tottenham

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