Match Report: Arsenal 4-0 FC Twente
Arsenal bounced back from last weekends Premier League defeat to Fulham with a superb win over Steve McClaren’s FC Twente.
Nicklas Bendtner started ahead of below-par Emmanuel Adebayor while Kolo Toure was dropped to the bench mainly thanks to Johan Djourou’s previous performances in the side.
Arsenal Starting XI
Sagna – Djourou – Gallas – Clichy
Walcott – Fabregas – Denilson – Nasri
Bendtner – van Persie
FC Twente Starting XI
Wielaert – Tiote – Douglas – Braafheid
Denneboom – Heubach – Brama – Janssen
Elia - Huysegems
A chilly north London evening welcomed the teams as they approached kick off. Arsenal certainly didn’t get the chills though, with the Gunners dominating early proceedings.
England winger Theo Walcott caused problems with his pace and won an early corner, Robin van Persie subsequently crossed it in but no red-shirts managed to get on the end of it.
Samir Nasri scored the opener in the 27th minute, giving Arsene Wenger’s team a three-goal cushion in the tie.
Nasri picked the ball up on the edge of the FC Twente penalty-area, beating two defenders to get enough space to shoot.
Goal: Samir Nasri (27)
His left-footed shot, from the edge of the six-yard box, slid through the legs of Twente keeper Nicolay Mihaylov to make it 1-0 in the second-leg of the match, and currently 3-0 on aggregate.
Robin van Persie missed a glaring chance to seal the win when, in the 40th minute of the match, he found himself free at the far-post, picking up the ball with plenty of space and somehow managed to shoot wide of the FC Twente goalpost, much to the distress of Wenger.
The game went into half-time 1-0 to Arsenal, who looked like they will qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.
Emmanuel Eboue replaced Samir Nasri as the second half got underway. Nasri was rumoured to of suffered a stomach bug and was taken off as a precaution.
Nasri’s departure didn’t stop Arsenal’s attacking prowess though, William Gallas doubled the score on the night early in the second-half, latching on to a superb cross from Nicklas Bendtner and slotting the ball home from close-range to double the score.
Goal: William Gallas (52)
Steve McClaren instructed his team to push up and they certainly did that. Within minutes of Gallas’ goal, Deneboom ran at Gael Clichy with the Frenchman bringing Twente’s pacey winger down. The subsequent free kick was hit straight into the wall.
It didn’t take long for the third goal to come, Man of the Match Theo Walcott linked well with Danish strikr Nicklas Bendtner before beating two defenders and finishing emphaticaly past Mihaylov.
Goal: Theo Walcott (66)
Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor and Cameroonian midfield Alex Song replaced Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas as the game eventually died out.
Arsenal’s fourth goal came along in the last minute thanks to Nicklas Bendtner, the youngster missed several opportunities before hand but got his goal due to a superb breakaway from Emmanuel Adebayor. Bendtner looked to of lost the ball before Denilson took it and backheeled a cheeky flick to the Dane who cooly finished past the ‘keeper.
Goal: Nicklas Bendtner (89)
Bendtner’s goal was practically the last action of the night which proved to be a fantastic one for the Gunners. A smashing 4-0 win against Twente, Gallas answered the ‘captaincy critics’ while Theo Walcott’s calmly taken goal wrapped up what was to be one hell of an easy night for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Manuel Almunia 6.5 – Rarely called into action to warrant anything more than an average grade.
Bacary Sagna 7 – Supported Theo well. Twente stopped the Frenchman from bombarding down the wing like he usually does.
Johan Djourou 7 – Senderos has gone, but Djourou can step in and be a bigger, better and more sufficient player the back. He certainly proved that tonight.
William Gallas 8 – Silenced the critics with his goal. Proved a surprising attacking threat and led well.
Gael Clichy 8 – Similar to Sagna. Gael did put some decent service into the box though.
Theo Walcott 8 – Was largely anonymous in Arsenal’s games thus far but showed great pace today that Heubach could not handle, forcing Steve McClaren to sub the left back at half-time.
Francesc Fabregas 8 – Showed Arsenal exactly what they missed in their three competitive games prior to this match.
Denilson 7 – Gifted Twente an early chance that they could have scored from had it not been for some wayward shooting. Found his feet as the game wore on, and set up Bendtner with a delightful back-heel.
Samir Nasri 7 – Took his goal really well. Sold three Twente defenders down the river, cut back on his other foot, took one touch, and then rolled the ball into the opposition net.
Robin Van Persie 7 – Showed some good signs of flair and skill early on. His delivery was far, far better than it was at Fulham. Missed guild-edged opportunities though.
Nicklas Bendtner 7 – An enjoyable performance from the big Dane. He tried so hard to make an impact but the balls just wouldn’t fall for him, but he took his goal well. He held the ball well, and looks more of a complete targetman than he did this time last year.
Emmanuel Eboue 7 – Did well. Got booed when he came on by the Arsenal faithful.
Emmanuel Adebayor 7 – Same as Eboue. Contributed to the fourth goal.
Alexandre Song 7 – Got on with the job. Simple and effective.