Wenger rewarded for ringing the Arsenal changes

Arsenal cruised through to the group stages of the Champions League overnight after a 4-0 demolition of FC Twente at Emirates Stadium.

The goals came from Samir Nasri, William Gallas, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner as Arsene Wenger was rewarded for making the necessary changes to the side that lost to Fulham on the weekend. Cesc Fabregas returned to the starting team at the expense of Emmanuel Eboue while the manager also dropped Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor in favour of Johan Djourou (woo!) and Nicklas Bendtner.

Fabregas – sporting a scruffy-looking hairdo reminiscent of good friend Mathieu Flamini – was the clear difference between the two sides, spraying passes around with ease and controlling the tempo of the contest. His return to the side transformed Arsenal and gave a huge reminder of just how important he will be to the club this season.

The scoring was opened when Nasri capitalised on a good run by Walcott by slotting home a very clever goal. The Frenchman shaped to shoot on the edge of the area before taking the ball past two defenders and scuffing home a low shot into the back of the net. It was the sort of goal that Alex Hleb would never have scored and continued Nasri’s excellent start at his new club.

There were a few clear-cut chances wasted before the break, none worse than a shocking miss by van Persie. With the goalkeeper gone AWOL the striker fired wide with the goal at his mercy to continue his rather dissapointing form in front of goal. He will hope for much better going forward.

At half-time Nasri was subbed off for Eboue – the manager later revealing he was suffering from a stomach bug and had vomited in the changerooms. It’s funny, the footballing gods must really love Eboue because they seem to bend over backwards to ensure he gets as much game-time as possible. Fair play to him though because he again did well when he came on and has been relatively consistent in the first few games of the new campaign.

The second half was an absolute whitewash as Gallas tapped home after Bendtner’s shot was saved, Walcott scored a remarkably Thierry Henry-like goal and Bendtner rounded out the scoring after a close-range goal created by a clever Denilson backheel. You can see all the goals here.

In the post-match conference, Arsene Wenger was understandably delighted with his side’s performance and in particular their ability to bounce back from the weekend loss:

“It was a big game for us and I felt we were well organised, disciplined, focused and basically never really under threat from FC Twente. What was most important was not to make mistakes, be patient and score our goals. I felt the whole team was sharper and physically we were much better than on Saturday afternoon.”

Although he is right, I do feel it was the changes to the starting team that made the difference. Fabregas is arguably Arsenal’s best player and would improve most sides in the world. Djourou is clearly in better form than Toure at the moment and it’s no coincidence that the only time Arsenal have conceded this season was when the Swiss defender was sitting on the bench. And in attack, consistent early-season rotation of strikers has ensured that the front pair has been fresh and sharp for each game.

If I sound a lot happier today than in the past couple of days it’s because I am. Arsenal are into the Champions League and that is always a good thing. It was a good response and a much-needed reminder that this side’s first XI is capable of playing excellent and effective football.

More tomorrow. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for that signing…

Have your say on Arsenal’s win over Twente by leaving a comment.



  1. The result was good and the changes necessary. As if to prove me wrong, Theo played well and, from what I heard was MOTM. van Persie needs to get his shooting boots on, he shouldn’t have really missed that one, you could see what he tried to do, but it just wasn’t needed. As much as I love Toure, Djourou seems to work better with Gallas so I think this match should be more frequently used. Good result ahead of an important Premiership game. I hope this new Arsenal home shirt I just purchased will be christened with a win!

  2. the win was good for the team though we stil need to improve in some parts,mainly in the striking line. At the back Djourou was fatastic as to why i much prefer him to Gallas and let him play with a fit Toure or let him in defesive medifield role as he is good at the ball. otherwise wish them the best against Newcatsle which is looking much improoved compared to last season.

  3. @ Panda Bear – Ooo a new home shirt. Huzzah! I’d get the away one though.

    @ astroangel – Cheers. Don’t call him Flamoney though! I still love him, heh heh.

  4. Jonathan De Guzman apparently is on Wenger sight he is a useful midfielder an all around player he can defend score goals and free kicks he may not be Wenger’s number one target but he is good enough and any signing will do at moment.
    Van Persie is a bit rusty.I’m not worried about him he is pure class you just watch.
    after the fulham game Walcott was criticised by many Arsenal fans they seem to forget he is only 19 when did Henry started scoring? Ian wright started scoring goals at the age of 25 so he has plenty of time and yesterday he showed his class specially the finish on the goal.
    This match was confidence booster and I would read much into it. real tests are the Premiership.

  5. After watching the partnership of djourou and gallas last night (or rather this morning, melbourne time), i must say they look good together. gallas and toure are good individually, but never together. i have a feeling gallas enjoys having a partner who’s bigger than him.
    it’s no coincidence that the best form he’s had was when he was with john terry, a much bigger CB than he is. djourou might not be the biggest, but he’s certainly taller than gallas.

    you reckon he’s gonna keep toure on the bench mate ?

  6. I like that AW acknowledged the team had more balance tonight, and I hope we wasnt just referring to Cesc, Djourou offered what wwe really need someone to charge out and get his head on the ball, he was winning headers all night. Eboue wasnt playing but did well when he came on, maybe he should be used as an impact sub, cos he does have the power. I thought Denilson had a good game and seems to be able to play both positions AM and DM, i think the combination with Cesc could work, cos Cesc is box to box, as is Denilson and if they can develop an understanding it will be a lethal partnership. Before anyone says Denilson made a mistake on the edge of the area, if it had come off we would have been able to get a counterattack going, and I would rather see him trying the unexpected than not!

  7. rosicknote, Djourou’s 6 foot 4 so he is actually very big. I wasn’t actually particularly impressed with Djourou’s individual performance but as a partnership, he works well with Gallas. Oh and Djourou can offer a threat from free kicks if he can improve his heading (he should’ve scored from a free kick yesterday but he somehow managed to head the ball away from goal as if he was defending).

    About Van Persie’s miss, it highlighted perfectly that his confidence is very low and that self-doubt is creeping into his game. He was about to take an instinctive shot, but then he pulled his foot back and hesitated and when he did shoot it was off target because he was thinking about it too much.

    Bendtner seems to get the ball caught between his legs a lot and I remember in the first half where Fabregas played a super pass to him into the penalty area but he misjudged it and the chance was gone.

    Also, when Ade came on, he had the ball close to the halfway line with his back to the opposition’s goal and he flicked it on past his marker who held him a little so Bendtner took the ball and pushed forward but Ade came back and stole it from Bendtner. What was all that about?

    Denilson should be due a break now because he’s played the most pre-season games and every minute of our competitive season as well.

  8. SF,

    Whew! In America we say we could of had a V8….Let’s hope for more of this! I just can’t stomach another season w/o some payoff. Good point in regards to Nasri-Hleb…I was thinking the same thing…That goal was oh so sweet…Good read on Bendter starting over Ade…OK now on to Guzman? What ya think? Did you hear Bischoff is 6 weeks from first team action?

  9. Ade was not dropped based on his performances against Fulham because he was one of our best players then. I think Wenger knew we’d get through this tie easily so he decided to rest a few players and give Bendtner a chance. I hope that Toure wasn’t rested though, but rather dropped because of Djourou’s excellent performances so far.

  10. @ Fabregas’ Dad – About Adebayor, I know he wasn’t dropped for a poor performance. I just like it that Wenger is rotating the strikers to keep them all fresh. It won’t show now but come the business time of the season I believe this rotation will come in very, very handy.

  11. i mean he might not be the biggest in the sense of his size, not height. to me, he looks skinny if you compare with the likes of toure, JT.

  12. Im about to get the Away shirt but do not not who to put on the back, Fabregas4, V.Persie11 or Walcott14, im having Nasri8 on my home shirt. Good performance as I have said before, Djourou to start alongside Gallas v Toon and long life Gooners.

  13. After watching the champions league draw live…two comments….one: what on earth were those awards all about….what a joke!!….two: we ve got a toughy!! all that travelling….lucky utd and chelsea again!

  14. Le gunner, Walcott can’t be compared to Henry because we paid over 10mil to get this player years ago which Wenger normnally doesn’t do. The expectation is there and i don’t think it is too demanding.
    Go back to the game, Walcott did make some good run, but again his passing or passing selection were still as poor as usual, this got to be improved alot soon. Van Persie is a world class striker but he squandered the golden chance which is unacceptable. We could have score much more if Bendtner , Denilson and Van P didn’t squander the chances.

  15. am having both my home shirt with ‘Adebayor 25’..i want almunia’s shirt too but i can’t find it anywhere in kenya. anyone tell me where to get one? i don’t mind denting my credit card a bit. cheers!

  16. knightman you could always try ebay for that shirt. Doesn’t matter who we play in the cl we are going to win it this year as the league is out of reach with our thin squad.

  17. Fenerbahce, Porto and Kyiev. Not an easy group, I believe we will qualify but but i cant say who else will right now. Nasri 8 on my home shirt :D. Bring on the Toon, play same squad but bring on Ade, Vela and Wilshere/Song v Toon 😀 😀

  18. Anyone else catch Paul Scholes volleyball goal?! hahaha i knew Man United were cheaters but damn.

  19. 3-0 v Newcastle. V.Persie double but had to subbed 🙁 looks like another injury period for RvP. Vela looked great in his place though and after his appauling form in last weeks game, Denilson scored aswell. Gallas’ header cleared off da line, V.Persie hit the crossbar to deny him his hat-trick, Who caught Nasri and Barton, I was on the floor with laughter whilst watching the game! Clichy and Toure both had excellent long shots too! Cesc and Ade and Nasri were awesome, Arsenal are back!

  20. Arsenal played GR8, but still got A few things to sort out, like Denilson even though he scored 80% of his passes went to the other team. Hes not ready yet I think, as said before we need A midfielder QUICK. It was A gr8 game to watch could have been more like 5 nil gallas missed A sitter and we should have had 2 penalty and even though Ade didnt score he gave a 100% and worked his ass off which was gr8 to see. And BARTON can fuck off that tackle on NASIR could have ended up bad the way he landed was LUCKY so FUCK BARTON hes A WANKER and the way he was smiling he so shouldnt be playin in the premier leauge, and did anyone see KEEGAN havin A go at NASIR I lost all RESPECT of hm but it was gr8 to see GALLAS stand up for NASIR and he was right in his face, thats what A CAPTAIN should do. All in all gr8 game and awesome to see ARSENAL playin like that and winning.

  21. Keegan was a bit stupid to have a go at Nasri at the end as if Barton is an angel that needs protection. His tackle on Nasri was nasty and Nasri had to pull his leg from underneath the THUG otherwise he would’ve Broken his leg and that smirk on his face says it all he is a S*it and shouldn’t be playing football he should go back to jail and finish off his sentence.His hearing is coming soon and I’m sure the FA will ban him for a long time.
    Kurup-I agree Denilson is the weakest link at moment and needs replacing he is good as a squad player when needed. I think we owe an apology to Ade he really worked hard and also Wenger revealed he could’ve gone for more money somewhere else but he didn’t.I’m a bit worried about RVP another injury. I think his body can’t take it. Fabregas was doing both duties tackling hard and going forward he is really Mr Arsenal at moment he makes it look easy.

  22. le gunner i disagree.. I dont think we owe Ade sh*t. He wanted more money yet his finishing stays the same, complete rubbish. Even if he picks up his form, no one owes Ade sh*t, he went about his wanting to be transferred the wrong way, and people have every right to boo him. I think people will get over it after he starts to actually score goals, but like i said, just cuz he’s scoing doesnt mean we owe him anything, he owes us more goals after this summer transfer, wanting more money talk to play like Henry talk.

  23. Demetrio- I was feeling like you but after hearing what Wenger had to say about the whole situation and also he did say he made a mistake and learned from it so I think there is room for forgiveness, well as long as he gives 100% and start scoring again.
    I was surprised to hear Scolari Saying Wenger wanted to buy Kalou.Don’t we need a midfielder?

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