Arsene Wenger will be desperate to stem the tide of vitriol that has been barraging him over the last 48 hours following his Arsenal side’s lacklustre performance in their opening Premier League clash, where they lost to Aston Villa 3-1.
Things aren't set to get any easier for the stoic Frenchman either as he faces a stiff task on Wednesday night when he looks to secure the Gunners’ place in the group stage of the Champions League and the North London outfit have a testing assignment in Turkey against Fenerbahce in the first of two-legs.
Unrest at the Emirates has certainly seen Wenger’s unwillingness to splash the cash in recent seasons resulted in the team being booed off by the fans, it is unusual for a manager to come under pressure just 90 minutes in to the new football season but Wenger is certainly feeling the heat and the European draw has hardly been kind on the 63 year old and the vociferous atmosphere in Istanbul will certainly test the unity in the Arsenal camp.
Wenger will feel his side have a slight advantage with the second leg taking place at the Emirates, but they will still have to improve immeasurably from Saturday’s lacklustre display and with a leaky rearguard looking vulnerable then they will be more than happy if they can come away from Istanbul with a draw.
Elsewhere in the Champions League this week, seven times winners of the competition, AC Milan, are another side who will be under pressure to progress through the qualifying round and the 'Italian Giants' will face a test against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven who aren’t complete no-hopers and will look to utilise home advantage in the first leg before a tough trip to the San Siro for the second leg where Massimiliano Allegri's men will look to clinch the tie in front of their home fans.
Neil Lennon will have been ecstatic about his Celtic side drawing Kazakhstan’s Shakhter Karagandy and the Hoops, who sent shockwaves through the competition when beating the mighty Barcelona in the group stages of last year’s competition, are favourites to make it through to the group stage once again.
French side Lyon will do battle with Real Sociedad and they will be aiming to gain an unassailable first leg lead against their Spanish adversaries, whilst German contenders Schalke 04 should have no problem with dispatching PAOK Salonika.
One of the much talked about dark horses ahead of this year's Champions League, which gets underway proper on 17th September, are Zenit St Petersburg. The Russian outfit should be able to safely book their place in what is set to be a mouth-watering Champions League by getting the better of Pacos Ferreira in another potentially one-sided clash to book their place in the draw for the group stage, which takes place on Thursday, 29th August.