Arsenal 6 – 0 Braga – I can’t count them on one hand…

Morning Fellow Gooners,

Yesterday we were treated to a feast of football, a sublime 90 minutes of pure entertainment – an excellent display of football that would mirror any performance in the whole of Europe. Bringing Jack Wilshere into the team this season has been a stroke of genius and similarly to Barcelona, the technical ability of our whole team is second to none.

The line up yesterday was:

Almunia

Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Nasri – Cesc – Arshavin

Chamakh

With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Rosicky and Vela…

We started the game with a high level of ferocity and tenacity and within the first few minutes we really should have been awarded a penalty when Cesc was tackled just inside the area. And within 90 seconds, Cesc was fouled again just as he entered the area. I’m not one for advocating foul play or diving, but Cesc’s two penalty shouts were more “yes they were” then “no they weren’t” – the first even a Sp*rs fan would admit!

But it didn’t take long until we were on the scoresheet and it came through – yep, you guessed it – a penalty when Maroune Chamakh was fouled in the box by the outcoming keeper. Cesc stood up and duly despatched the ball into the back of the net. And after the first goal, Braga had to attack more, giving us more and more space. And we started to create chance after chance after chance. And even though the score line was heavy – we must not take away the maturity of the defensive part of the game, with our back 5 and Song outstanding.

Braga did try their best and had a fifteen minute spell where they did look dangerous. It took until the 30th minute for us to score our second and excellent play through Cesc - mesmerizing dribbling around the box – and a brilliant through ball to Arshavin who finished well to make it 2-0. Cesc had 10 touches and pulled out 2 defenders from their positions – really intelligent playmaking, and Arshavin’s finish was at the near post and a clever finish too.

A few minutes later, we made it 3-0 with an amazing period of play primarily involving Wilshere – winning the ball – one two with Cesc via Chamakh and then a backheel into Chamakh’s path – and the Moroccan did  what he does best and made it 3-0 – an excellent cross goal finish and nutmeg to top it all off – you will not see a better team goal than that all week in Europe – and if you haven’t seen it then make sure you watch it!

And we continue the second half how we finished the first and on the 53rd minute, some excellent work from Cesc and a good cross back into Cesc saw the captain finish with a far post header – 4-0. Cesc could have had his hattrick moments later as he broke the offside trap and chipped the keeper, only for his shot to be cleared off the line. Chamakh was next to break the offside trap, but the officials wrongly pulled him up for offside.

Not content with the 4-0 win, the team looked ready to push on and get more goals – it was clear they were enjoying it – and on the 62nd minute, Vela for Chamakh and Denilson for Song was a like for like and within 7 minutes of being on the pitch, Carlos Vela made it 5-0. An excellent team goal – involving Cesc to Wilshere to Cesc to Arshavin to Vela – with his customary finish – a chip…

And at 5 – it was showboat time – outside of the right, outside of the left, Jack Wilshere was loving every minute of it – Cesc wanted the hattrick – it was sublime and finally we got the sixth – with Cesc taking down a beautiful long ball from Clichy, and teeing up Carlos Vela for his second goal of the game… 2 goals, 2 assists, what more can you ask for from your captain…?

Arsene was full of praise for Cescy and said this after the game:

“He has taken on another dimension. People forget that he is 23 years old, [an age] where other people start. He is a fantastic influence and it is important that he leads this team to winning and I believe it is a fantastic opportunity for the young players who play alongside him to improve as well. If you are 18 years old like Wilshere and you see Fabregas who is 23, it is a big opportunity to learn a lot.”

He also took time out to talk about Jack Wilshere, who also had an outstanding game…

“It was important because it accelerated his career by being confronted in the Premier League and having tough games. But, of course, Jack has been educated here and he was already an outstanding player when he left for Bolton. But this is the final part of the education of a player – to be integrated into the first team and play under pressure. That was important for him.”

There we have it… an excellent all round performance… an abundance of quality, loads of goals, a clean sheet and smiles on many faces… boy do I love the Arsenal…

Til tomorrow my friends, til tomorrow…

  • devday

    PS – And a shout out to Clichy who had a great game – a few mistakes – but recovered well and was ever present searing forward and his vision was sublime throughout the game.

  • jeffvip

    the most unselfish play from Fabregas we ever seen… he is goin to get his hat-trick yet he make the pass to Vela. Nobody would have blame him if he was to try to score himself as we are 5-0 ups. Love Fabregas forever

  • Kieran

    Wait, is this the same Fabregas that “clearly doesn’t want to play for Arsenal”, who has “terrible body language” and who is a “mong”?

    Awesome play from our captain – I completely agree Jeff, so unselfish from Fabregas for Vela’s second. Lovely to watch.

    A lot has been made of how terrible Braga were in the press this morning – but Arsenal were missing Vermelean, Walcott, RvP, Diaby, Bendtner, Ramsey… That’s pretty exciting for me as an Arsenal fan to have those players still to come back. You could even throw in Rosicky who didn’t get on the pitch.

    Great time to be a gooner.

  • devday

    @ Kieran:
    Let it go, my friend… let it go…

    Braga weren’t that bad – but we were just that good!

  • Kieran

    @ devday: :D

    As seen on Arseblog:

    Are Braga a worse side than Rangers, for example? I don’t think so. Didn’t see United take them apart and stick six goals past them.

  • megh

    cesc so has answered his critics! with some style!

  • cameron

    A brilliant performance for most of that game. A possible banana skin overcome and we played some outstanding football. But Braga didn’t turn up last night. Yes, partly due to us not letting them turn up but also because they aren’t a great side. But I just really enjoyed watching sublime beautiful footy from our lads. This for me was a game to help build confidence and cohesion. I thought Wilshere and Fabregas worked well in midfield together but will young Jack be able to keep up that level for a whole season? Hope so but would be surprised if he can. Certainly if he keeps developing he is gonna be world class. It’s silly to say we should look at just this game and not relate it to our season. We are Arsenal fans, every game impacts on our season. We are not nuetrals that can just watch one game and leave it at that. The big test for this current line up is the chavs away. We certainly won’t get the same time on the ball against Essien and co in the middle as we did last night. A great result but it has to be viewed in context. We beat a team that is a couple of leagues below us in quality. We played well (brilliantly at times) but we now have to build on that and repeat it against proper quality teams.

  • detriot09

    What Wenger (and other managers) mean by “protect players” is ensure that blatant cloggers are dealt with. There’s a big difference between being tight on a player/team. Chelsea, Man City, Villa, Man Utd managed to stop Arsenal playing last season by tough, but legal means. What Wenger has an issue with is players/teams who actually go out of their way to ensure a tough tackle stings. So the player then thinks twice every time somebody comes in for a tackle. You only have to see the comments from pundits about the Taylor tackle on Eduardo. “He was just trying to show him he was there” as a intimidatory tactic. The problem with that tactic (as Eduardo and Ramsey can testify)is that the possibility of injury is high. If the challenge is mis-timed or the player takes more of the man than the ball then something serious can happen. Shawcross didn’t intend injure Ramsey in any way….but he wanted make Ramsey think twice every time he made a challenge. There’s nothing wrong with physicality in playing against teams against Arsenal. But it is a thin line and if a highly talented side like the Dutch can’t stay on the right side of the line (see World cup final)then how can we claim mid to lower premiership sides stay within the rules.

  • CON-MAN

    wilshere is becoming a real player, cant wait to see him develop over the coming year. In my eyes hes a lot better than Theo

  • Berth

    just a good home game and wilshere is better than Diaby, den and theo. Fans can be annoying sometimes or I would say blindly carried away easily. Why not just say jacko wilsher had a very good game.

  • Sam

    Just want to say it again: The glass is mostly full. Be proud to be an Arsenal supporter.

    Frankly, I am dissappointed with the lack of excitement in Arsenal blogs after such a wonderful win. If we had dropped points on a game like this, you’d have a ton of comments here. The usual suspects would be here calling for everyone’s head, from AW to Almunia and even Cesc for having his heart set at Barca. But now that we have creamed the opposition, only very few people have commented.

    C’mon, be proud to be a Gooner.

  • Goonerman

    @ Sam
    I totally get what you mean it has taken a couple of days to get about 10 comments were as a draw would of got about 40 lol, obviously they were not amazing but the football we still played was! We just need to grind put results like we need to tomorrow. Allardyce and coupe are a couple of whining mugs and it’s wenger who gets cslled the moaner! He’s just bitter that we didn’t let him have jack this season!!

  • Berth

    I hope we can go all the way.

  • Pete

    There’s a really nice interview with Chamakh today over at the Mail Online website:

    dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1313059/Marouane-Chamakh–How-idol-Laurent-Blanc-helped-secure-dream-Arsenal.html

    Seems like a decent lad.

  • edison

    As they say, No News Is Good News !

    What a stunning performance it was, that shows that on the right day our team of players can work together to trash other teams.

    I thought playing Wilshere Fabregas and Nasri together wouldnt have worked so well, too many cooks etc. but it worked positively and left us with endless options.

    Chamakh was incredible, silent but deadly. He played across between van persie and bendtner (on a good day) – great technical skill and but with strong phyiscal presence and positioning. Perfect centre forward !

    Always nice to see Arshavin get a goal, because he looks so bloody depressed with his form half the time.

    Missing RVP , Walcott and Vermaelen was hardly noticed.

  • Sam

    Sp#rs extremely lucky to collect 3 points today. Two late goals were result of simple accidents.
    Now for the Arsenal to shine at stadium of light.

  • Flamez
  • Tm17

    We are trying to pass our way trough the last 10 minutes
    And it seems to work

  • jeffvip

    yea… 1-1… blames no one

  • Sam

    Freakiest game for the past few years. Luck & lack of it played so much into this game. We could have had this one, but a draw is probably what we deserved. Unfortunate, really.

  • Tm17

    Typical Arsenal !!!!! :)
    But overall I think not bad we were at 10 against
    11 for a big part of the game
    Of course the penalty comes in mind but that’s football and
    Our goal wasn’t the fairest seeing as we were getting battered in the first part of the first half

  • Berth

    Nasria and Rosicky where just running the show in midfield while Kosh and Squillaci where unbelievble in defence (My best Arsenal best performnce in 5years). WIlshere was good too, but I felt starting Denilson would have made the midfield better and matured. The penalty miss and of cos clichy panicky moment broke the score even. We should not forget that most of the players started the champions league.

  • Berth

    * Arsenal defensive.

  • vitus

    *ucken cats equalised after the added time, so the ref was against us again? Is there a chance to appeal to federation?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    1-1 was a fair result today.

  • Berth

    just wtching the bolton team – Route one away from home and good passing game at home.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ vitus:

    No because the time added on is a minimum of

  • jeffvip

    @berth

    I agreed on ur view for our defences… seems like Squillaci will cover and swept the back while Konscielny will attack any fast incoming ball… feel proud of their defenses. So Vermeallen will be playing who’s part when he playing?

  • Flamez

    11pts out of 15 aint a bad start, but what we need to look at is the comparison from last year, replacing blackpool for pompey, we picked up 9pts from these 5 games last year, compared to 11pts this year, and we do look more solid at the back, kos and seb are both settling really well, especialy for a cb paring that only just played its 3rd game 2gether.

    2pts dropped but still a happy gooner!

  • Sam

    Watching ManU-Liv & ref is clearly soft on ManU! O’Shea should have been off but gets a yellow. Still, 2-2 for now.

  • Berth

    jeffvip am really worried about Clichy’s panicky moment – he is the oldest of the back for in terms of longevity yet he still plays with that fear of the Birmingham game three seasons ago. So am saying Wenger should consider playing VERM as a left full back against teams like Chelsea or Man u or teams similar.

  • fan

    clicy was soo good when he was going forward that game. except for that panic moment i thought he had a good game. Wouldn’t mind seeing vermaelen as a lb tho.

  • Berth

    yeah Fan – and Wilshere should not be starting away from home. I know he was al-right yesterday, but if Denilson or Diaby is fit they should be played instead

  • Pete

    Was gutted at the time about concedeing in the very very VERY last seconds of the game, but soon afterwards I was ok with the 1-1, and as mentioned by Gooner Get Ya, its a fairer result. We scored a freak goal, missed a penalty and had 10 men for most of the second half, so really, we shouldn’t complain too much. You have to remember that we lost there last year, so a draw with 10 men is very good and in my opinion, we did well to hold off Sunderland for as long as we did.

    Again I was impressed with our defence, despite the goal. Koschielny’s composure is very reassuring to see in our backline, Squillaci looked solid and Clichy made some great interceptions. Am also impressed with Chamakh’s defensive capabilities.

    Almunia so far has done little that worries me, and if we compare his performance at Blackburn to Mark Schwarzers game there with Fulham yesterday, you see a big improvement in our no.1.

    Was a little surprised to see Wilshere starting, especially in an away game thats proved to be tricky in the past, and for Arshavin to have been subbed for Denilson instead of young Jack. But its easy to say this in hind sight, and overall, I thought we did well.

    Onwards and upwards.

  • vitus

    Well, may i share some thoughts here?
    I guess i know what we are still lacking:
    team spirit, not sure where is the problem, probably captaincy – we don’t have the real leader now (sorry Cesc) to encourage and to lead the team when it is about the game like yesterday’s.
    And the second is…the devoted fans,real supporters.
    When it goes not as desired arsenal blogsphere and comments become soo dirty offensive towards the players and AW.
    It’s a massive disgrace.
    Maybe many of us are too young and too emotional?

  • Berth

    Vitus your right in saying most fans are too emotional and young, but so do other clubs.We do have to stick with the team, but most importantly we do need to have a clearly defined assistant captain in sequential order. I do not have worries with the team at all, but players like arshvin should really be scoring those chances he gets, we know he has the quality, but I do think he is suffering from intermittent confidence problem. I hope he gets it back as soon as possible because we do need loads of it especially with Chelsea game around.

  • ny

    We did not feel the pressure once we were down to ten men.Bcos we were already a ten men team with Arshavin being a waste of space.

    Really surprised to see Wenger played an unchanged team from Braga game.Atleast Eboue,Denilson and Vela should have started ahead of Arshavin,Wilshere and Nasri.MAy be he is keeping these players for the Spurs game. :-)

  • vitus

    Agree, AA23 is a zero defender hardly useful in a game like this. AW is often being late with the substitutions IMHO