A very young and inexperienced Arsenal team beat FC Twente in Holland 2-0 in their Champions League third round qualifier on Wednesday. Second half goals from captain William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor have Arsenal well positioned for the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on August 27th.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was without Cesc Fábregas, Abou Diaby and Amaury Bischoff because of injury and Alex Song because of his presence at the Olympic Games. Injures to midfielders Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri further complicated things.
As a result Wenger was forced to give 17-year old Aaron Ramsey his competitive debut and along with fellow teenager Theo Walcott Arsenal fielded the youngest midfield of the Wenger era.
“It was a very physical game with Twente man-marking us all over the pitch with a lot of spirit and belief,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters. “But in the second half they could not keep pace and we were able to take over.”
Pleased with his re-shuffled side’s performance, he added: “We played with a very young team and did not lose our nerve. Then our technical superiority allowed us to score to goals.”
This was a really impressive win for Arsenal considering the youth and the financial stakes if they had lost. It will now take a remarkable collapse in the second leg at the Emirates Stadium on August 27th to prevent the Gunners from entering the draw for the Champions League. Based on tonight’s result I do not see that happening.