Dennis Bergkamp and Freddie Ljungberg scored the goals in a comfortable win for the Premiership champions.
They had to wait for their opening goal though, a 62nd minute deflected strike from Bergkamp, after a neat build-up involving Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord.
Ljungberg then marked his return to action with a goal 15 minutes later. The Swede has been out since the World Cup with a hip problem, but showed he had lost none of his spark with a cool finish to put the game beyond doubt for the home side.
The move again involved Wiltord and Henry, capitalising on a long throw out from David Seaman, to set free the breaking Ljungberg. He rounded ‘keeper Jens Lehmann, and placed the ball into the empty net.
In truth, Arsenal were rarely troubled by the German champions, who sorely missed playmaker Tomas Rosicky.
PSV Eindhoven put in a strong defensive display to leave Auxerre with a well-earned point. They were inspired by strong displays from debutant goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar, and Dutch international defender Kevin Hofland.
Without key striker Djibril Cisse, Auxerre were always going to find goals hard to come by. Indeed, it was a night for the goalkeepers, as Fabien Cool made some impressive stops to keep PSV from scoring at the other end.
Pablo Aimar shook off an injury to put in a fine display, which included the opening goal of the night. He applied the finish to an excellent move involving David Albelda and Ruben Baraja.
Liverpool found it tough against the Spanish side’s free-flowing football, but could have stolen an equaliser on the half-hour mark, as Emile Heskey, Liverpool’s best player on the night, clipped the post from a tight angle.
This did not stop Valencia, and shortly afterwards, they doubled their lead, after John Carew found Baraja, who struck from outside the box.
Liverpool improved slightly in the second half, after bringing on Michael Owen and Bruno Cheyrou, but they did not create the clear-cut chances needed to force their way back into the game.
There slim hopes of a revival were put to the sword 13 minutes from the end, when Dietmar Hamann received a dubious second yellow card, to leave Liverpool a man down.
Valencia could have added to their lead after Hamann’s dismissal, with Carew coming close, but their two goal’s were enough for the win. If they continue in this sort of form, then the Spanish Champions may be on their way to Manchester, for a third final in four years.
FC Basel marked their Champions League debut with a 2-0 win over Spartak Moscow. Despite dominating the first half, the Swiss champions could not find a way past the Spartak defence.
However, five minutes after the re-start, striker Hakan Yakin drove home to put Basel a goal up. Five minutes later it was two-nil, as Argentine Julio Hernan Rossi completed a good run by firing past Cherchessov in the Spartak goal.
If Spartak’s finishing had been better, then it might have been a different story, as Beschastnykh, Kebe and Danishevski all wasted opportunities. However, Basel outplayed their opponents in the second half, and fully deserved their win.
Roma dominated the early part of the game and made their opponents look like an ordinary outfit. Three goals against the run of play for the European Champions secured the points, and if they are winning like this when they are not playing well, it is hard to imagine what they will be like at their best.
Real took the lead just before the interval. Luis Figo began a counter-attack by dribbling out of his own half, guiding the ball to Raul, who then fed Guti to curl the ball beyond Francesco Antonioli in the Roma goal.
Roma pushed after half time, and Ilker Casillas did well to deny Emerson an equaliser. However, despite Roma’s continual pressing, it was Real who scored next, after Guti returned the favour for Raul, who sent a low long-ranger past Antonioli.
After this, Roma continued to play their excellent brand of football, but yet again, Real scored, as Guti beat the Roma defence to send a low drive into the net. Roma ran this game, and for them to lose like this does not give much encouragement for any side hoping to take Real’s crown at the end of the season.
RC Genk and AEK Athens played their part in an entertaining goal-less draw in Belgium.
After early pressure from Genk, AEK began to make their mark on the game, with Themistoklis Nikolaidis going close on two occasions. The second half saw chances for both sides, with Mirsad Beslija going close for Genk, but AEK could have sealed the points in the last minute, when Vassilios Lakis took too long over his shot, allowing goalkeeperJan Moons to smother.
Crespo had earlier given Inter the lead, striking with a deflected shot from the right hand side of the penalty area.
Rosenborg threatened throughout, and were rewarded for their dominant play when Azar Karadas bundled home a corner, which Crespo had accidentally flicked away from goalkeeper Francesco Toldo. Karadas looked dangerous for the home side, and was rewarded for his play when he hit his second of the game – a firm header that left Toldo stranded.
Inter then lost Fabio Cannavaro, sent off for a second bookable offence. The odds were firmly stacked in Rosenborg’s favour, and Karadas went close again. However, the Norwegians were punished for not making better use of their numerical advantage, when Crespo smashed the ball into the roof of the net eleven minutes from time.
Ajax marked their return to Champions League action with a 2-1 home win over Olympique Lyon. They were inspired by a strong individual performance from Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored both goals in the win.
He scored his first on eleven minutes, with a powerful strike after beating two defenders. They could have scored again before Ajax moved two ahead. Jari Litmanen was involved in a move that saw Victor Sikora pick out Ibrahimovic, who slotted home his second of the match.
Lyon changed things around in the second half, with Tony Vairelles replacing Sidney Govou up front. The visitors looked a better side, and went close through Vikash Dhorasoo and Edmilson, before Sonny Anderson pulled one back six minutes from time.
Abubakari Yakubu was then sent off for picking up two yellow cards, but Ajax were able to hold on for an important win.