Last night Arsenal went some way toward answering their early season critics, and pushing the defeat against Aston Villa to the back of their minds.
After their shocking 3-1 home defeat on the opening day of the Premier League season fans, pundits and players doubted Arsenal’s credentials as title contenders - or indeed Champions League equivalents.
Where Fener really struggled was with the pace at which Arsenal played with. Aaron Ramsey was quick to release the ball efficiently while Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla had the freedom to roam free throughout the 90 minutes. As for Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs - their natural pace gave them the authority to roam down the flanks at will, and it was this that caused the opening goal.
This makes you consider the average age of the Turkish outfits side - as they lined up with a team averaging over 30-years-old.
The likes of Emre Belezoglu, Raul Meireles, Pierre Webo, Joseph Yobo and Bruno Alves are all talented and experienced individuals, but they could not play at the pace Arsenal imposed on the fixture.
If only they had a few young talents out on the pitch, in fact, one player who may have helped was out scoring a goal of his own in the Champions League qualifiers.
The player in question should also be familiar to many Premier League fans - especially those of a Chelsea persuasion. Miroslav Stoch was scoring what could prove a crucial away goal against Schalke 04 for Greek outfit PAOK Salonika last night - on loan from Fenerbahce.
The Slovakian, who won the Puskas Award for the best goal scored in 2012 at the start of the year, joined the Turkish side from Chelsea in 2010 in search of first-team football.
In the beginning, that is just what he got, but 2012-13 was tougher - Stoch made just 14 appearances for the side.
So this summer they loaned him out to the Greek outfit. We imagine, that they never thought it probable; he would be more likely to be playing in the Champions’ League Group Stages this season then his parent club. But after last night, that is certainly the case.
image: © mertol