Welcome to the new season. I'll do a more comprehensive season preview before the West Brom game. In this tie we just need to concentrate on qualifying. As Robin van Persie said t'other day, "This is football. If you don't win these two games then you won't qualify and you'll play in the UEFA Cup". Wise words, Robin.

This is a game we should win, but Twente won't necessarily be a walkover. They finished fourth behind the mighty NAC Breda in Eredivisie last season, but beat Ajax in the playoff to reach the Champions League qualifiers.

McLaren's sides have beaten us twice in the past, once in the Carling Cup in 2004, and again in the league in 2005. Every other time we faced Middlesbrough under his tutelage we emerged the victors. Last season was the second season in a row they finished in the top four, but in years before that they floated around mid-table. We've made our way through the Champions League qualifiers in the last two seasons without much strife, hopefully it'll be the same this time round.

Team News


Diaby and Nasri are out of the squad with knocks, Eduardo and Rosicky will be available nearer Christmas. Fabregas is out for this tie, meaning we're down to Ramsey and Denilson as the only available central midfielders. Toure is also out with a hip problem, as is Senderos with a hamstring problem. We have eight first team squad players injured before the season's even started. There goes the varied comments from a lot of fans suggesting that we'll do better this season, if only we're luckier with injuries.

Subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Wilshere, Gibbs, Randall, Vela, Bendtner.