Alexis Sanchez’s first Arsenal goal secured their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage as they beat Besiktas 1-0 at the Emirates.
The Chilean forward, who has largely flattered to deceive since making a high-profile move from Barcelona, struck just before half-time in the second leg of Wednesday’s play-off.
His effort, backed up by a stellar showing from Jack Wilshere and some dogged defending following Mathieu Debuchy’s 76th-minute red card, was enough to see the Premier League side progress to the competition proper for the 17th successive year.
All of the pressure was on Arsene Wenger ahead of an encounter estimated to be worth upwards of £20million for the victors.
But, despite being without Aaron Ramsey following his sending off in a goalless first leg, the Arsenal manager could breathe a sigh of relief.
Besiktas, meanwhile, will have taken great heart from another impressive showing, even if a Europa League campaign now awaits.
Clearly determined to impose themselves, Arsenal began quickly and pressed forward with regularity.