Arsenal capitilised on missed early chances from Porto to, in the end comfortably beat a poor Porto side.
Porto had three good chances early on in what was an open, if somewhat scrappy start as both teams kept on giving the ball away. Arsenal were dominating possesion but the first chance fell to Rodriguez from a Porto counter and he unluckily hit the bar. Lisandro then had two good chances; one a long range effort saved by Almunia, then from a corner which Arsenal failed to clear it fell to the Argentinian for had his shot cleared off the line from Clichy.
Too Good for Porto
The Gunners were untroubled for the rest of the game and the movement and passing was too much for the Portuguese side. Fabregas was allowed to dominate proceedings and was picking holes in the defence, the lack of marking of the Spaniard was made to pay. He was involved in everything while Van Persie was equally as good, allowed the freedom to drop deep, sometimes in his own half. It was like the Dutchman was invisible.
His first goal typified the Porto performance though to give credit to Robin he made a brilliant run and had great determination in the whole game.
It was not just the defence who were poor, the midfield (minus Lucho Gonzalez in the first half) and indeed the defence kept on giving the ball away. They were missing Gonzalez in the centre but in the second half when he did come one, didn’t make much difference.
Cesc Fabregas had his best game for the Gunners this season, dominating play and creating chances for everyone. Van Persie as mentioned had a good game as did Adebayor but he was too selfish in moments or made the wrong decisions. It was encouraging to see Theo Walcott perform better in tighter spaces at the start of the match but as the game wore on stretched the game and gave Benitez the left back a torrid time. The Englishman also made a better overall contribution as his final passes usually found their men. Niklas Bendtner came on and look threatening also dropping deep to get the ball like Van Persie but also driving forward. His final ball was often poor but made a great chance for Adebayor cutting in from the right.
Room for Improvements
It was a far from perfect night from Arsenal as Porto are not as good as they were in previous seasons though credit must go to the Gunners for taken full advantage and creating problems with their passing and movement.
There was a few concerns early on from the counter attack and positionally Denilson and Fabregas would need to do better than tonight if they were to play against tougher opponents. The two alternated but for the most part Fabregas attaced while Denilson defended. The Brazilian was quiet in the first half and was quite far from his defence leaving the Gunners vulnerable though they did push up high to negate this threat. He allowed a few unchallenged shots and on occasions his tackling was too weak.
Adebayor was often wasteful though he got two goals but there were twenty shots from Arsenal and at least half good chances. Nasri and Walcott missing virtual open goals. Overall good performance as they made the most of a poor Porto side but as ever the real test is yet to come and it could come late in the Champions League (but in the Premiership Arsenal have lost twice).
Arsenal: Almunia (6), Sagna (7), Toure (7), Gallas (7), Clichy (7), Walcott (8) (Vela 71(6)), Fabregas (8)*, Denilson (6), Nasri (6) (Eboue 64(6)), Van Persie (8) (Bendtner 64 (7)), Adebayor (8)
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou.
Goals: Van Persie 31, Adebayor 40, Van Persie 48, Adebayor 71 pen. Booked: Clichy.
FC Porto: Helton (6), Sapunaru (6), Bruno Alves (4), Rolando (4), Benitez (5), Guarin (5), Costa (6), Fernando (5) (Lucho Gonzalez 46 (5), Raul Meireles (5) (Hulk 64 (5)), Rodriguez (7) (Candeias 79(5)), Lopez (6).
Subs Not Used: Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Stepanov, Lino.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||FC Porto|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|10||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||6|