Before I review the match, I'd like to express my concern at one player, namely Emmanuel Eboue. I cannot for the life of me figure out what he brings to the team. He is problematic in defence, so Arsene has moved him away from the back line into midfield. In midfield, he can't really maintain his positional sense. On the right he often finds himself too far back or too central. He doesn't close the opposition down and can't seem to tackle that well. When he has possession, he either loses it or fails to do anything productive with it. So, the conclusion is, that Eboue knows something so unimaginable about Arsene Wenger that Arsene has to play him for fear of it coming out… what is it? Answers / comments welcome on this one. It’s truly baffling.
Okay… on to the game, and we rested Toure and Ade and brought back Cesc, so the line up looked like this:
Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
Walcott – Denilson – Cesc – Nasri
Bendtner – Van Persie
Some sensible decisions from the manager. Cesc needed some match practice, Djourou played well against West Brom and deserved to be kept in the team ahead of Toure, who’s a little bit match unfit. And Ade’s been awful so far, so Bendtner deserved his chance too.
So, by now, you’re probably aware, it was 4-0 to the Arsenal. A good performance, a good scoreline, but in all honesty, still a bit sluggish and off the pace. The score line does flatter us a little, but overall, Twente, despite their amazing support and determination had no final third.
We laboured a little in the beginning, but were always in control. Cesc’s influence quite evident – it seem to have lifted the whole team. Robin Van Persie was the guilty party in the first half missing three glorious opportunities. But we took the lead through Nasri (27 mins)when he danced through the area, faked to shoot, and shifted left of two defenders to slot home from the far left to the far right… Yes, that’s his second goal in as many games at the Emirates, a good start to the campaign from the young lad. Bendtner was equally guilty, especially when he found himself one on one with the keeper, only to seem to have lost the ball and subsequently lose possession. Theo’s pace was electrifying and the Twente left back couldn’t deal with it. He should have gone down when he was tackled in the area, but he didn’t and Van Persie failed to do anything with his cross.
Half time, 1-0.
The second half was a little better in terms of fluidity and Theo’s decent performance in the first half continued into the second. To the dismay of the crowd, Eboue was brought on for Nasri. (See above for reasons)… albeit Nasri may have complained of a stomach ache too..
A good run by Gallas (52) brought us the second. He’s game so far had been decent, trying to prove himself after his mistake – which he admitted in the match programme. “Yes, it was my mistake and I take full responsibility”… okay, thanks, but that doesn’t help us get three points back, does it William? He made a surging run into the final third and latched onto a parry by their keeper after Nicklas Bendtner shot from the left hand side. Right time, right place.
The wind was taken out of our opposition and Theo amongst others started to have a few chances. Young Theo (66 mins) scored the third after a lucky break and some good play to cut inside. Ignoring the claims from Eboue to pass, neatly finished it off into the back of the net.
Just to make a good performance a rout, Nikki Bendtner (89) scored after a fumbled peice of control and a nice back heel by Denilson, tucking the ball past the keeper from 6 yards.
Full time, 4-0
Arsene said after the game:
“We want to play with the best and to do that, we had to qualify for the group stage. It was a big mental test. The response was clear – togetherness, focus and efficiency. The whole team was sharper and physically much better than on Saturday and that is why it made it easier. He (Cesc) brings calm and confidence to the side and overall we had a good balance in the side. Cesc could have stayed on, he always wants to play, but he was probably more disappointed that they did not have a go at us.”
On Walcott he said:
“I have always said we have to be patient with him. I felt he can be decisive in any game against anybody, if we can get him in. He has improved his first touch and his link-up play, which was vital for his progression. But the way he finished his goal, you cannot teach that, he has that naturally.”
The positives were definitely the performances of Djourou, Cesc, Nasri and Walcott, 4 of our youngest players. Song came on late on and looked like a proper defensive midfielder, felt good to see someone sitting in front of the back four…
Just before I go, in other news, we’ve been heavily linked with Jonathan de Guzman. A player likened to Hargreaves. This story broke a few days ago, but I didn’t think it was too substantial, but today’s it’s hit the newspapers and Guzman is quoted as saying:
“My dream clubs are Arsenal and Barcelona. If clubs of that stature are interested in you then you cannot say no. ‘I’m certainly open to interest from Arsenal and from what I hear Feyenoord are happy to hear from them as well.”
So let’s see what Arsene has in store. I wouldn’t hold my breath. He said we “sign a replacement for Flamini before the second leg (Twente)” which we didn’t…
Tomorrow sees the Champions League draw, so I hope to preview it before hand… Til then…]]>