A result in itself tells you little about a game. We won 2-0 and by all accounts were not the better team. Liverpool drew 0-0 against Liege and by all accounts were both lucky and God Awful. But whose prospects look brighter after this first big test? My gut feeling is that Liverpool blogs are probably a happier place to be this morning.
Our performance last night was professional, and was a testament to the fitness and mental strength of the players. A few players stood out;
Ramsey - Although at times he looked like a little boy lost (and Twente targeted him with some very dubious challenges), Ramsey did not shy away from the challenge nor the ball at any point.
Denilson - likewise kept his chin up, and showed clear improvement during the game. He is good enough to play for the Arsenal. I just don't think it is as first choice next to Cesc, but as first choice replacement for Cesc.
Almunia - he is a good keeper. People often attack him for not winning us games and points, in the way that Cech and Van Der Sar seem to. He did that last night. He was composed and calm and solid, and I think the clean sheet is largely due to him.
Djourou - If it wasn't for Billy's goal scoring penis, then Johan should have got the headlines and the back page picture. He looked a better defender than his captain, and showed composure even after Denneboom (great name) tried to invert his nose with his elbow.
However, although it was good to learn that the players above do look like they will one-day be good enough, we also learned that the team that played last night is not good enough now. I know there are injuries but this is likely to be the team we start the league campaign with, and WBA will give a more stern test.
We need better options than Eboue and we need more guile and experience in the middle of the park. Vela can come in, but he is both young and new to the league, and likewise Nasri. Diaby is an option, but in my view that is it - an option. I think the back 5 look fine, especially when we have King Kolo and Big Phil to come in. And up-front we should be solid, especially when Eduardo returns.
If you take out Cesc from our team though, it loses 70% of what makes it great. And that is Wenger's gamble. He is not giving Cesc the protection needed to play every game, as we have no-one we can actually RELY on to deliver if he is having a quiet game or needs a break. Can we honestly expect to compete for both the league and in Europe with the knowledge that if we lose Cesc we lose more than a player, we lose the very heart of the team?