Arsenal FC progressed through to the group stages of the Champions League as they defeated Besiktas 1-0 in a close encounter.

Star signing Alexis Sanchez, who was asked to lead the line in absence of Olivier Giroud, scored his first goal for the club in the first half and that turned out to be the winner. It was a close encounter and Arsenal, who went down to 10 men after Mathieu Debuchy received his second yellow card in the second half, would consider themselves lucky not to have conceded a penalty despite two strong appeals.

The win means that the Gunners will now participate in the Champions League 17 seasons in a row as they wait for the group stage draw. Arsene Wenger was relieved by the win and insisted that the result took a considerable weight off their shoulders

“Not qualifying is unthinkable until it happens and then everyone thinks ‘why did it happen’,

“It is a weight off our shoulders now because we can focus on the Premier League, wait for the draw.

“We played against a good team and had to show a goof fighting spirit.

“We feel we have done the job and we have a clear conscience.” – The Arsenal manager said.

Wenger also didn’t agree with the referee that Mathieu Debuchy deserved his second yellow card in the second half and felt that the former Newcastle United right back played the ball.

“I was very worried [When Arsenal went down to 10 men] because you never know as we have some players on the edge physically.

“I thought it was very harsh because Debuchy played the ball and maybe with the anger from our side on the bench we saw he played the ball.

“The referee was on the other side.” – Wenger added.

Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has admitted to have made contact with Ismail Koybasi when the Besiktas right back went down in the box. Referee Pedro Proenca turned down strong appeals of a penalty and Arsenal were lucky to escape.

“I think I did (make contact), but that is up to the referee,

“I slipped as he tried to put the ball into the box.

“I thought the referee did a good job tonight on the whole.” – The Arsenal midfielder said.