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 Posted by Kevin Palmer
Aug 19, 2014

Demba Ba goal threat worries Cazorla

The ESPN FC panel discuss Arsenal's Champions League playoff tie against Turkish side Besiktas.

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla believes ex-Chelsea striker Demba Ba will be the primary threat to his side's hopes in their Champions League playoff game against Besiktas.

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Ba was the star signing for Besiktas coach Slaven Bilic this summer having come close to joining the Gunners' from Chelsea a year ago.

The Senegal striker has been identified by Cazorla as the main threat to Arsenal's hopes of reaching the group stage for a 17th successive season.

"He is a great footballer," Cazorla told the club's official website ahead of Tuesday's first leg in Istanbul. "He proved that here in Premier League, playing for Newcastle and Chelsea. He is a great signing for Besiktas.

"We better watch out with him and also with all of their players, but he will be a leader for them and we have to be careful because he has scored a few goals against us. If we don't keep our eyes on him then we will be in trouble."

Ba scored a hat trick in the win over Feyenoord in the third qualifying round.

Arsenal can expect to be greeted by a hostile reception from the home supporters -- although the match has been moved from Besiktas' own ground to the Ataturk stadium due to renovation work -- but Cazorla has urged his teammates to embrace the challenge.

"This Champions League playoff is crucial for us," he added. "Everyone wants to play in the group stages of this competition.

"It is nice to play in these kind of atmospheres, even though it is always better playing at home than away. Nowadays every player enjoys playing in stadiums with great atmospheres and you always have that in Turkey.

"Turkish football is lived with passion, even more so when it comes to a Champions League playoff. This cannot affect us, though.

"We will go there to play football, thinking about what we have to do and trying to separate ourselves from the atmosphere."

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