PARIS - Arsenal and AC Milan face daunting Champions League dates in mid-week as 20 teams chase the 10 remaining places in the world's most lucrative club competition.
Arsenal, runners-up in 2006, have a series of fitness worries ahead of their tricky trip to Istanbul to face Fenerbahce on Wednesday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs both went off injured in the first half of their 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday while right-back Bacary Sagna also had to be replaced after falling awkwardly on the back of his neck late on.
They were already without midfielder Mikel Arteta while centre-back Thomas Vermeulen and full-back Nacho Monreal both missed Saturday's clash with back problems.
It is in defence that Arsenal are most vulnerable and their absentees in that department could cost them dearly, particularly with former Chelsea nemesis Didier Drogba likely to line up opposite them.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said the club must rebound quickly.
"We're not happy, we've got to look at ourselves," he said. "We've got a big qualifier coming up and there can be no mistakes now, we've got to push on. We've got to pick ourselves up."
Adding spice to Wednesday's clash is that Fenerbahce's potential participation in the group stage, should they get through, depends on a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, expected at the end of the month, having been banned from European competition by UEFA for match-fixing in domestic competition.