Why Arsenal will struggle to end the Big Four’s Turkish curse tonight

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Fenerbahce/ Arsenal, ITV1, 7.45pm


[Roberto Carlos – unfazed by Arsenal’s visit]

Despite coming from behind to beat Everton, Arsenal are far from  their best and in recent years trips to Turkey have proven even more daunting than playing in the San Siro or the Nou Camp for the Big Four. Here’s why the betting genii at chickendinner believe Arsenal are in danger of being the latest Premier League side to come home from Turkey empty-handed…

» English clubs have lost their last four Champions League away games against Turkish opposition. Manchester United lost 3-0 in Fenerbahce in 2004-05, Liverpool lost 3-2 to Galatasaray in 2006-07 and 2-1 to Besiktas last season while Chelsea lost 2-1 in Fenerbahce six months ago.

» Despite starting this season slowly, Fenerbahce have only lost once at home, which means that in total they have now lost just three of their last 52 league and European home games.

» Their last European home defeat came in November 2005 against AC Milan and their unbeaten run now stretches fifteen games.

» Domestic form hasn’t always proven significant to Fenerbahce’s European form. Prior to beating Inter Milan last September, the Turkish side drew at home to Caykur Rizespor, who had lost all their away games at that point and finished the season joint-bottom.

» Excluding qualifiers, Arsenal have won just two of their last nine Champions League away games.

» The Gunners last encounter against a Turkish side ended in misery when they lost the 1999-00 UEFA Cup Final on penalties to Galatasaray.

» In September 2001, Arsenal lost away to Real Mallorca, a club that current Fenerbahce boss Luis Aragones had guided into the Champions League a few months beforehand.

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