Arsenal, FC Basel and Austria Vienna are well
placed to reach the Champions League after winning the first leg of
the play-offs away from home Wednesday.
Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 romp in Istanbul against defensively feeble Fenerbahce, with 59 per cent of ball possession.
The Turkish team managed to keep Arsenal at bay in the first half but after the interval the floodgates opened, with goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.
Gibbs opened the scoring in the 51st minute, turning in an excellent centre from Theo Walcott.
Welsh wizard Ramsey doubled Arsenal's lead 11 minutes later with a low shot which eluded Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.
French striker Giroud completed the rout by converting a penalty 13 minutes from time, after Walcott had been pulled down.
Afterwards, a beaming Walcott said: "We have scored three great goals and this is a great result now going to the Emirates on Tuesday night."
Meanwhile, Ramsey said: "We have not made an ideal start in the Premier League but we bounced back tonight. We have been criticised but we remained switched on. I'm feeling confident at the moment."
Fenerbahce's veteran Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo said: "Arsenal played really well tonight, all credit to them.
"They are a very good team. We tried to contain and control them but it was very difficult to do so."
Meanwhile in Gelsenkirchen, Schalke 04 were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by PAOK Salonika. Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan gave Schalke the lead, only for Miroslav Stoch to equalize for PAOK with a valuable away goal.
A disappointed Farfan said: "We should have won this game without too many problems, but we didn't do so.
"We had chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0 but we didn't take them. They came back at us well in the second half. Now we will have to go to Greece and win, it's as simple as that."
In Wednesday's other first legs, FC Basel won 4-2 win at Ludogorets - with a brace from Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah - Austria Vienna triumphed 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb and Legia Warsaw battled out a 1-1 draw at Steaua Bucharest.
The second legs will be played August 27.
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