By Randy Osae
Early season doubters after the Fulham loss were easily back on Arsenal’s side as a set of rampant Gunners brushed past FC Twente for a ticket into another Champions League adventure.
Starting the day with a 2-0 aggregate lead over the Dutch opponents, Arsenal rather eased with their best performance so far this season, instead of getting caught of complacency.
Cesc Fabregas recovered from a hamstring injury to replace Eboue in the starting line-up while Djourou and Bendtner came in for Toure and Adebayor respectively. All Wenger’s choices of incomings were part of Arsenal’s first-half domination.
Walcott, with his pace, worked Twente out wide, while both Johan Djourou and Gael Clichy came close to giving Arsenal the lead after a start that showed much hunger than on Saturday. Samir Nasri is just a summer signing but already is making a name as a hero. The French winger registered the opener after Van Persie cut-back a missed ball for him to stroll pass defenders and finish with a low drive on 27 minutes.
But the main show drawer was Theo Walcott. The English teen was the architect from the flanks – making his own tries on a few occasions.
Walcott displayed his unselfishness to carve out an open goal for Van Persie after 38 minutes, but the Dutchman took quite a while before shooting wide off the empty net. Against Ajax in preseason, the pair argued about what seemed to be that same topic – this time, Walcott could not be accused of going for individual glory.
Into the second half, Wenger took Nasri off for Eboue, with the weekend’s Premier League game in mind. But Arsenal’s trend of control did not stop there.On 52 minutes, Gallas made a surging attacking run into the penalty area and was rewarded by a rebound off Bendtner’s shot. With the game virtually over at 2-0, Fabregas was replaced by Song while Adebayor came on for Van Persie.
Theo Walcott made sure of another European night to remember when he capped his impressive performance with a pin-point strike. Yet again, Walcott’s finish was Henry-like – stretching the goalkeeper in vain from 18 yards out after been let in by Bendtner’s pass.
Late in the game, it was Nicklas Bendtner’s own turn to wrap-up the cruising display. The Dane shot from close range after several passes in the penalty box which finally saw Denilson assist with a slick pass.
In all, it was a perfect response after Saturday’s rare disappointment and a very opposite show of the one at Craven Cottage.