Much, much better. A very satisfying performance from Arsenal and we’re through to the group stages of the Champions League. It was by no means the best show I’ve ever seen us put on but it was a more than satisfactory performance and that’s just what we needed.
Not being harsh to Twente, they didn’t really put up much of a fight. They had a couple of chances in the first half which where met with large, gay “OOOH!” noises from the travelling supporters. This was probably the biggest game in recent years for those who’d travelled over from Holland and they’ll probably be pretty disappointed that they didn’t give us as much of a game as they did in the first leg.
We started with a changed 11, but one I felt very comfortable with:
Sagna – Djourou – Gallas (c) – Clichy
Walcott – Fabregas – Denilson – Nasri
Bendtner – van Persie
Djourou and Gallas did well a few games ago and I thought they should’ve continued their partnership; Toure came back for the Fulham game and our defending wasn’t very tight at all. Those two did well last night though. Fabregas got his first game of the season and did pretty well. Bendtner was awarded a start ahead of Adebayor; I thought Nick was very lively when he came on at Craven Cottage so I was pleased to see him given a game. I would’ve had Song ahead of Denilson but the young Brazilian did well so credit to him, he had a bad game on Saturday and needed to bounce back from that.
We started the game much more positively this time around. We showed signs of hunger and willingness to get forward which was promising so early on. We lacked in the way of proper chances though. I remember van Persie had a go from range but that was about it.
We didn’t have to wait too long for the opener though and it was the same man as our last home game: Supersam. It had just gone 25 minutes when Walcott picked the ball up in midfield in space and had a go at his man charging forward, he made it to the box and squared it. The ball seemed to miss everyone but van Persie managed to slide in and knock the ball to Nasri’s feet on the edge of the box. Samir took a touch, turned his marker and cut inside the box. He shot across goal, which got caught up in the legs of the defender but still managed to cross the line.
That goal ruined FC Twente. They had a mammoth task with the score at 2-0 but with Nasri making it 1-0 on the night they gave up. They made it easy for us and never looked like coming back.
We really should’ve doubled the lead before half time but we couldn’t manage it. We had some decent chances but the best fell to Robin van Persie with about 5 minutes to go of the first half. We broke upfield and had them completely outnumbered. I think it was Walcott up the right, but whoever it was they could’ve taken the shot on but decided to square it for the easy goal. Robin van Persie was at the back post, took a touch and somehow managed to put it wide whilst the defender and goalie where scrambling across the box it get a block on it. Madness. Should’ve been 2-0.
At half time Eboue came on for Nasri which got me worried. Samir had a great first half, he looked confident and was running at players. In Wenger’s post-match interview he explained that Nasri was sick with a stomach bug and didn’t feel well enough to play. Glad he’s not injured but get well soon Sammy.
7 minutes into the second half we had the game all wrapped up. Gallas picked up the ball and started to charge forward with it. It rebounded off the last man as he tried to go through on goal but it bounced up and into the path of Bendtner on the left who was able to cut inside the box to have a shot at the ‘keeper from an angle. Nick’s shot was saved but it went right into the path of Gallas who’d continued his run and it was a simple tap-in for Gallas’ second of the season and Arsenal’s second of the night. Credit to Gallas for following up the shot and reacting to the save, true striker’s instinct…even if he is a centre-back.
It was really easy for us now, we were given a lot of space and time on the ball and it was building our confidence.
After 64 minutes we made our second substitution. Adebayor came on for Robin van Persie. Why is it that every time he doesn’t start, or goes down from a challenge or gets substituted I think, ‘Oh that’s it, he’s injured again.’ Hopefully he’s not but you never know with him.
Two minutes after Adebayor had come on, we added a third goal and it was the best of the night. Theo started off deep on the right wing but showed good awareness spotting the space diagonally towards the goal. So played it into the feet of Bendtner and charged towards that space. I don’t think Nick was quite ready for it but he just managed to get it into the path of Theo and he was through on goal. He took a couple of touches, kept his cool then bent it into the far, bottom corner very nicely.
A well-taken goal and I’m always glad when Theo gets on the score sheet. It does his confidence so much good and hopefully there’ll be a few more of those that season. A think a target of 10-15 goals this season isn’t too much to ask.
After the goal Cesc was brought off for Song and he didn’t look too happy about it. He wasn’t in a strop or anything but it was just obvious he wanted to carry on playing! I can understand Wenger being careful and not risking him for the final 20-odd minutes but it was a good comeback for Fabregas.
Before the final whistle went, we just about managed to squeeze in a 4th. Adebayor was sent down the left and he forced his way into the box. He had to hold it up a bit because there wasn’t much support but he did square it to Bendtner in the end who was around the penalty spot. However he had about three defenders surrounding him desperate to make the interception. Denilson was running in and took the ball while it was loose and quickly back-heeled it back into the path of Bendtner who was able to get the shot away under the ‘keeper. Quick thinking by Denilson and a good goal in the end.
So it ended up 6-0 on aggregate and you can see all the goals from last night here. It was the best performance of the season, however that isn’t really saying much! FC Twente did make it easy for us though and we’ll be facing much harder opposition in our next game against Newcastle. Still, credit to the boys for finishing the game off.
The draw takes place at about 5pm later today for the group stages of the Champions League. I really want to try and arrange an away trip for one of our ties but I’ll have to see if I can. We’ll have to see who we get later first.
Just a quick apology for not keeping the site fully up-to-date recently. I’ve been so busy this week, I’m working loads but I’m also rushing around sorting out stuff for my new house. I’m moving down to Bournemouth in a couple of weeks time and I’ve got to go down tomorrow to move stuff in. I still plan on getting to the games but I’ll just have to see. More on that another day anyway…if you care.
I’ll leave you with my favourite chant from last night:
“You’ve only come to see Eboue, come to see EBOOOOUE!”