Arsenal Pummell Braga 6-0

Arsenal pummelled Portugese debutants Braga 6-0 in their Champions League Group H opener at the Emirates Stadium to get their European campaign underway in sparkling fashion.The hosts began their European campaign at an electric pace as Marouane Chamakh won a penalty which captain Cesc Fabregas converted with aplomb in the ninth minute.
Andrei Arshavin doubled Arsenal’s lead on the half hour with a clinical finish from Fabregas’s incisive pass, and four minutes later it was three as Chamakh rounded off another mesmerising move with a clinical strike.
Fabregas capped an imperious display with a brace as he headed in Arsenal’s fourth, and the rout was complete as substitute Carlos Vela dinked an exquisite chip beyond the helpless Luiz Felipe and added a sixth with an emphatic finish.
Arsene Wenger was without six first-team players, but welcomed back Samir Nasri following knee surgery, and handed recalls to Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy, who was in the thick of the action as the Gunners began the match at a furious pace.
The hosts could have been awarded a penalty as early as the third minute after a slick exchange from Jack Wilshere and Fabregas culminated in the Spaniard being hauled down by Silvio just inside the Braga box, but the referee waved play on.
But five minutes later the Gunners did have their spot kick as Chamakh hurtled forward and drew a rash challenge from Felipe, and the goalkeeper was unable to make amends as Fabregas dispatched the penalty emphatically.
The Portugese debutants struggled to match the intensity of their hosts, and Arsenal enjoyed a monopoly of possession in the first half, much to the delight of the home fans.
Braga held firmly under the cosh as the Gunners unleashed wave after wave of attacks, and Arshavin lashed home the second from inside the box after Fabregas pierced the visitors’ back line with a precise pass.
The hosts continued to pile forward in their droves, and a gloriously sweeping move saw Wilshere play a crisp one-two with Chamakh, back-heeling the ball into the path of the Moroccan, who iced the proverbial cake with a neat finish.
It was a case of damage limitation for the Portugese side after the break, but Arsenal netted their fourth goal within just eight minutes of the restart.
Arshavin zipped down the left before biding his time superbly to allow the onrushing Fabregas to ghost into the box unmarked, and the Arsenal skipper made it four with a composed header into the far corner of the net.
Wenger was afforded the luxury of making a trio of changes just after the hour mark as Chamakh and Alexandre Song were given standing ovations.
Arshavin almost clinched his brace in the 68th minute as he swivelled sharply and struck the far post with Felipe comprehensively beaten, but his work was not done.
A pinpoint through ball from the forward found the substitute Vela, whose delicate chip was utterly exquisite as he clinched Arsenal’s fifth, and the Mexican added a sixth in the 84th minute with a rasping finish to round off a quite majestic performance from the Gunners.
Wenger has spent the week bemoaning the robust treatment administered to his side in the Premier League, but he will have been cheered by an emphatic display to kick start this season’s European campaign.

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