The line up was Almunia, Clichy, Gallas, Djourou, Sagna, Nasri, Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott, Bendtner and Van Persie.
No Toure, no Ade and depending on who you were talking to the latter was dropped after a rather crap performance on Saturday. If we were dropping the crap players from Saturday though part of me doubts we would have had enough players to field team. Personally I think they were rested for the weekend.
The Arsenal kicked off and from the start Walcott was looking his usual lively self. In the first few minutes Bendtner won the ball and played a lovely little pass to Theo who found his cross being blocked by Twente’s left back. The Pers whipped in the corner which whizzed past the goal mouth but unfortunately no one was there to hit it home.
The Pers picked up the ball in the middle of the park and after a delightful turn played a slack pass to Sagna, hopefully this was a sign of things to come…the turn not the pass.
The first Twente attack came after Denilson played a silly ball just outside our penalty box to our thanks Twente over played it on the outside of the area and the shot never troubled Almunia at all. As the first half finally got it’s rhythm and Theo was beating up and down the right wing all night. He combined well with Bendtner on countless occasions and on countless more times he drew in his man and won the foul. The freekicks were floated in with Gallas and Van Persie both having chances but failing to convert.
One of the highlights for me was the tremendous tackle by Nasri followed by an equally, if not more, tremendous run. In the end it came to nothing but it got a few arses off the seats in antisipation.Johann Djourou was presented with another oppertunity to score after Clichy won a corner. The corner was taken short, then crossed in and after a mix up in the box Djourou had his chance which he did really try to take, but on his 50th Arsenal appearance he couldn’t find a goal.
How nice was it to see Cesc back? He played a sweet little ball to Bendtner at one point who couldn’t match Cesc’s sweetness and almost fell over the ball but he managed to squeeze it off and played in Nasri. Nasri could be my new best friend if he keeps this kind of form up he is just utterly delightful. His first touch is sexual, his passing turns me on and his runs with the ball are orgasmic. Anyhow I digress he layed the ball back off to Cesc who cut it back to the Pers who blasted the ball high wide and not at all handsome.
Van Persie then mugged Teoto and slipped the ball thought to Bendtner who is then bought down. After so many free kicks I was hoping, like the rest of my fellow Gooners, that we’d make at least one count. Fabregas knocked a cheeky little chip into the box which almost lands on the head of Djourou but he just couldn’t connect with the ball probably because he was being pulled all over the place but he wins us a corner. Again another Van Persie corner was wickedly smacked into the box and it just seems to bounce off Bendtner and play fizzed out. While all this was going on The Pers was on his backside claiming for a penalty for I don’t know what.
Around the half hour mark FC Twente defender Douglas hit the ball straight off Theo who ran with the ball like he’s a bullemic bird scarpering for the last slice of chocolate cake at a free buffet, the cut back almost gets lost in the crowd of players in the box but The Pers slides in and takes it off the defenders toe and into the path of Samir Nasri. Nasri is just glorious, he dances round his man, sells him a dummy and rolls the ball past the keeper. Word was echoing around The Grove that the said defender is still trying to source a ticket to get back in.
Nasri pulls off another great run and slipped it into the path of Denilson who ended up with so much time in the box he could have given Nasri the thumbs up for the pass, read a few posts on GoonersWorld and made a cuppa. He doesn’t realise this and ends up rushing the shot which is saved by the feet of the Twente keeper.
We were then presented with two glorious chances first Bentdner whos footing was all over the place and then The Pers who well he blew his chance to be honest. Bendtner then made up for his awful footing by playing Walcott in with a smart backheel. Walcott really should have scored after his drive into the box but he tried to cut it back and give someone else a goal. It didn’t work but he’s a nice lad isn’t he?
Half time, Eboue comes on for Nasri. This to me was the equivalent of having sex with Thandie Newton and then waking up to realise you’ve taken Jade Goody home. Twente also do a bit of tinkering at the back by whipping off the left back that Theo tortured. That guy has put in a request to go to Guantanamo Bay as apparently they don’t torture you as much over there
There was some nice play in the second half and we got our reward by getting our second goal of the night and our fourth for the tie. Gallas was involved in the build up and he finished it. Cesc dealt Gallas in who then had the ball taken off his toes just inside the area. The clearance fell to Bendtner who went past his man like a character from a HG Wells novel. Bendtner tried to open his body up and slot it past the keeper who got down well to palm the ball away but it only got as far as Gallas. Gallas didn’t have much to do but tap the ball in and claim his second of the season and his second against Twente.
To be honest after the second goal we took our foot off the pedal and allowed Twente to creep around and try to get back into the game. They never.
Van Persie was then replaced by Adebayor.
After a freekick which resulted in a corner and some other stuff all in Twentes favour Theo and Bendtner had some delightful interplay in the right wing. Walcott cut inside and struck the ball cleanly into the bottom left of the keeper net getting the goal he rightly deserved. The TH14 special shall now be known as the TW14 special. 3-0 and cruising. I suppose that what I get for saying I was bored. But more importantly Man of the match stuff from Theo.
Fabregas lasted just over an hour and was replaced by Alex Song who slotted in well to the midfield and didn’t have an awful lot to do. We passed the ball around emphatically and it turned into a bounce game for our midfield, Twente did not have a look in. McClaren might not have had the infamous brolly but he was still made to look like a wally.
Our defenders were getting so bored that at any given chance Gallas was trying to gallop upfieldand play his part in the attacks. Clichy caught up with the ball and his cross to the box just didn’t have enough power to reach Adebayor.
The second half saw us play some proper nice football, as usual, but we didn’t always have that final ball, also as usual.
As you rub your eyes in shock that your coupon for the night has come up you are forced to do it again when Eboue picks the ball up (not literally) and actually does something productive without diving at the end. After a tasty turn on the ball he plays it through to Bendtner who is put off by the defender and both he and Eboue try to scramble something together but fail. You let out a little sigh then you remember you’ve beat the bookie tonight!!
With two minutes to spare Ade holds the ball up on the left wing and bides his time before passing to Bendtner (shock!!) who takes one touch too many but the ball gets scraped up by Denilson. Denilson then plays a sublime backheel to give it back to Bendtner who strokes it home past the keeper. 4 for the night, six for the tie.
Job done and now our focus turns to tomorrow and the draw. Confidence should be high and heads can be held high.
PS Alan Hansen is a muppet.