Arsenal put their summer troubles behind them with a convincing 3-0 away win against Fenerbahce in their Champions League qualifier and are now just 7/20 to beat Ersun Yanal’s side in the return leg.
Arsene Wenger copped plenty of criticism for his recent transfer inactivity from the Emirates faithful during the Gunners 3-1 Premier League loss to Aston Villa.
However, second-half goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and an Olivier Giroud penalty will have cheered the Frenchman, whose recent comments calling for patience and espousing his record as Arsenal manager appear to have been momentarily vindicated.
Fenerbahce – who finished second in the Turkish Super Lig last season – are now a chunky 15/2 to win the return leg in north London, where Arsenal haven’t lost a qualifying match in Europe’s elite competition during Wenger’s 17-year reign.
After the hosts’ inept performance, particularly at the back where goalkeeper Volkan Demirel had a bad night, the Premier League side will be confident of repeating the dose.
Wenger’s men could go through even if the unthinkable happened and their commanding lead was overturned, as the Court of Arbitration for Sport have to decide whether or not to kick Fenerbahce out of Europe this month.
The Turkish side have been embroiled in a match-fixing scandal and could face expulsion from this year’s competition plus a further two-year ban for their alleged role, although the club deny the charges.
After last season’s valiant exit at the hands of eventual winners Bayern Munich in the first knock-out round, Arsenal are 25/1 to win the Champions League for the first time in their history this season.
Nonetheless, Wenger has to get back on track in the transfer market if they are to be taken seriously as contenders, with a double-move for Swansea pair Ashley Williams and Michu being prepared and another approach for Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye expected soon.