I’m still reeling from the fantastic performance Arsenal put in last night. Say what you want about Porto, winning 5-0 in the second round of the Champions League is some achievement -especially after being 2-1 down in humiliating fashion in the first leg.
Arshavin provided a lot of the key moments in the game, setting up three goals. Overall I think everyone put in a good performance, and gave a good account of the team.
Nasri was stunning in midfield, no-one could have conceived that it would be possible to beat three Porto players in the box and score from an almost unthinkable angle. That goal killed the game, but Bendtner also has been taking the headlines with his hat-trick, which everyone should have realised was coming – he gets into the right positions, as at Burnley – just this time he was putting them away.
Porto played an open game which really suited us as we had a lot of space in the final third – Arshavin, Bendtner, Nasri, Rosicky and later Eboue – all exploited this, especially as we scored the early goal to go ahead in the tie, forcing Porto forward.
Fucile had a torrid time on the right hand side of defence for the Portuguese, and in the centre they looked just as nervy. Critics could accuse Porto of being tactically a little naive, as playing away in Europe often requires more of a steely approach in defence. They didn’t attack effectively, but they also left themselves exposed at the back.
Some of the football played last night was fantastic, and Eboue and Bendtner scoring made it even better. Nasri’s goal is a strong contender for goal of the season in the CL.
I felt that a stronger side could have hit us on the break, as the defence was a little shaky, but Vermaelen more than covered for Sol’s lack of pace. You could also claim that some of the refereeing decisions were dubious, but I don’t think anyone can really take the shine off such a wonderful performance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this side has belief in itself now. Wenger has spent several years carefully assembling a team which can go further than Arsenal ever have before. The key now is being tactically astute when we come up against the bigger sides.
Wenger knows that there are tougher tests ahead, and I will be keen to see who is drawn against us in the Quarter-finals.
Critics of the Arsenal should remember that we have done this without our captain, best striker, and central defender, three players who would be sorely missed anywhere.
Highlights thanks to arsenalist.com
You can also see some lovely pictures from the match at Arsenal FC Blog.
The Sun also ran a joke of a headline – apologising to Bendtner – victory is sweet.