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Wenger made only one change from the team that had squeezed past Newcastle on the opening weekend of the season. Dennis Bergkamp dropped the bench and Alexander Hleb stepped up to make his first competitive start for the Club. The Belarus international slotted in on the left side of midfield and Pires stepped into the hole the Dutchman usually occupies.
A few minutes later Wenger brought on Hleb and Van Persie for Bergkamp and Fabregas. Dutchman replaced Dutchman up front and the Belarusian slotted in on the left with Pires joining Gilberto in midfield. Arsenal would play out this game with a surfeit of skill in midfield.