Arsenal kicked-off match day two of their Champions League campaign with a tie against FC Porto of Portugal.
The Gooners inside Ashburton Grove anticipated a much improved encounter than the poor performance and 3 points dropped against Premier League newcomers Hull City last weekend.
Arsene Wenger’s ‘sweeping changes’ involved replacing Emmanuel Eboue with Samir Nasri, other than that, the team was unchanged from Saturday’s loss to Phil Brown’s Tigers.
The Gunners started their game in nervous fashion. Several passes went astray but within ten minutes, the team in red and white started to get going.
Porto were on the back foot for much of the first half with Theo Walcott and van Persie both going close to opening the scoring.
But then the Gunners were given a real warning as Tomas Costa sped down the right wing and delivered a perfect cross to Cristian Rodriguez, whose diving header hit the ground before deflecting off the crossbar.
However, van Persie struck to give Gunners a real boost after 31 minutes.
Cesc Fabregas cut the Porto defence open and Adebayor picked out van Persie with a cross that the Dutch ace poked home at the near post.
Goal: Robin van Persie (31) – Arsenal 1-0 FC Porto
The experienced Portugese side were stunned. It was they who had the best chances of the first half but it was Arsenal who had provided the finishing touch to their own moves.
Little did they know, there was more to come from the flowing north Londoners.
With half-time approaching, van Persie returned the favour for Togolese frontman Adebayor by sending over a corner from which he rose unchallenged to power home for a 2-0 lead.
Goal: Emmanuel Adebayor (40) – Arsenal 2-0 FC Porto
Suddenly, the Hull City scoreline was completely forgotten about and Arsenal went in at the break with a superb lead over a tough set of Portugese stars.
Another half, hopefully another batch of goals to come from the mighty Gunners.
It didn’t take long for the third to go in. Shocking defending by Porto, giving the ball away on the right hand side. Robin van Persie picked it on the edge of the box, ghosted past Freddy Guarin, and poked the ball into the far corner. Game over.
Goal: Robin van Persie (48) – Arsenal 3-0 FC Porto
It was a typical Arsenal comeback. Not only from the Hull match, but also at the critics dismissing the Gunners’ title chances.
Fabregas drilled a shot at Helton which he fumbled, before Wenger made his substitutions.
Bendtner > van Persie
Eboue > Walcott
Vela > Nasri
Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner was brought into the action immediately and caused Porto a threat with his gangly style.
Freddy Guarin hacked down Bendtner inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Adebayor and it was 4-0. Unbelievably comfortable for the mighty Reds.
Goal: Emmanuel Adebayor (70) – Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto
The whistle went for full time, a superb result for everyone involved with Arsenal Football Club.
Next up, Sunderland in the Premier League – watch out Roy Keane, Arsene’s boys are back.
Almunia (7) – Made a good save from Lopez in the first half, and even came out to punch a cross at one point.
Sagna (7) – Steady defensively, put some good crosses in tonight as well.
Toure (5) – Pretty awful at the back. Positionally all over the place and only wins 1 in 4 headers.
Gallas (5) – Showed no leadership qualities, never mind the much-required organisational skills of a captain.
Clichy (5) – Lost count of the amount of times he was drawn infield next to Gallas leaving his left-back slot completely exposed. Booked for a reckless and unnecessary tackle in the second-half, seems to be losing the plot.
Walcott (8) – A constant threat all night with his amazing pace and dribbling skills. The end product is still lacking but Walcott is a frighteningly good prospect.
Denilson (6) – Had a decent game despite his lack of defensive ability – he’s clearly not up to that specific job so no point blaming him for it.
Fabregas (8) – Much better today from the Spaniard, excellent range of passing – held the midfield together.
Nasri (7) – Wasn’t at his best having just come back from injury, but clearly offers so much more than Eboue with his ball retention, creativity and passing attributes.
Van Persie (8) -Much better from Van Persie, who upped his work ethic and finished off some moves – although it has to be said Porto’s defenders bore innumerable gifts.
Adebayor (7) -Responded well to his poor exhibition on Saturday. Scored an easy header – but at least he was there. Missed some good chances as usual, but despatched the penalty calmly.
Eboue (6) – Disappointed to see him come on, seemed pointless – but did OK.
Bendtner (7) – Looks a tad slimmer and therefore quicker this season, and is mentally alert to everything around him.
Vela (7) -Didn’t see the ball enough unfortunately, but did one amazing dribble to get into the box. Increasingly like the look of him every time I see him.
Gooner Talk Man of the Match – Theo Walcott – Exploited Porto with his blistering pace. Needs to improve on his end product but other than that, superb.