Gunners fire six past hapless Braga
15 Sep 2010 - 21:46:48
Arsenal produced a sublime display to sweep Braga aside 6-0 in a one-sided Champions League encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
The Portuguese side may have finished second behind Benfica in their domestic league last term, but they were outclassed by a Gunners outfit that were at their scintillating best.
Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas ran the show while Braga were guilty of giving their hosts far too much space, a cardinal error for any team that comes up against Arsene Wenger's outfit.
Fabregas had already had appeals for a penalty waved away by the referee before Marouane Chamakh was brought down in the area by Braga goalkeeper Luiz Felipe.
Fabregas stepped up to slot the ninth-minute spot-kick home and from then on it was one-way traffic.
Felipe was almost immediately forced to make a smart save to stop Wilshere making it 2-0 before the Gunners eventually doubled their lead on the half-hour mark.
A fine Arsenal moved ended with Fabregas playing in Andrey Arshavin and the Russian made no mistake, beating Felipe at his near post with a low shot.
Just four minutes late it was game over when Arsenal added a third goal. A sublime one-two between Chamakh and Wilshere on the edge of the box ended with the latter's back-heel setting up the Moroccan to slide a shot home with some style.
Braga had beaten Celtic and Sevilla to reach this stage of the competition but there was little sign of that kind of form as the visitors continued to be pushed on to the back foot after the interval.
Arsenal were without the likes of the injured Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Nicklas Bendtner and Aaron Ramsey but they were still far too good for a Braga side that failed to learn from their first-half mistakes after the break.
The fourth goal arrived in the 51st minute when Arshavin was given all the time in the world to pick out the unmarked Fabregas with a cross and the Spaniard had the simple task of heading home.
The Arsenal captain almost completed his hat-trick before the hour mark but, after chipping a shot over Felipe, Moura Pinheiro Moises was able to race back to hook the ball away before it crossed the line.
Arshavin hit the woodwork in the 68th minute, but 60 seconds later the Russian set up the fifth goal, his subtle chip allowing substitute Carlos Vela to lift the ball over Felipe and into the back of the net.
The sixth goal arrived with six minutes left when Fabregas, who had the opportunity to score his third goal of the evening, unselfishly set up Vela to embarrass Felipe once again and set the seal on a masterful Arsenal display.
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