Red hot Gunners rise to the occasion to power past Porto

Samir Nasri pulled the strings and Nicklas Bedntner compiled a hat-trick as Arsenal put in a dynamic collective performance to overwhelm Porto.

They say that every Arsenal attack is what makes Arsene Wenger’s heart tick – the free-flowing football constituting the pumping of blood through repeated, rhythmic contractions. This was the red and white cells versus the blue and white – occasionally the heart skipped a beat but not as frequent as the press and pundits made it out. Sol Campbell and Thomas Vermaelen swept up nearly every loose cross that came their way. Gael Clichy and Bakary Sagna were calm and composed when Porto countered, where instead of impatiently jumping into the challenge as they may have done in the first leg they calculated the winger’s movement and ushered them into blind alleys. Alex Song and Abou Diaby’s telescopic legs stopped the opposing midifelders in their traps and enabled the Gunners to build up quick impetus. And Arsenal’s forward quartet was mesmerising, dynamic and unpredictable – too much for Porto’s vanity defenders.

This was not the sum of parts being greater than the whole; this was a fantastic team performance and each player performed their individual bodily functions in tandem to produce a multiplier effect on the collective.

Some may point to the quality of Porto but what the Dragões always do is provide a stern test on the break and the Gunners passed that with flying colours. The way the two sides were set-up was always going to produce an open affair – definitely one or two hearts in mouth moments but thankfully Samir Nasri’s clearance off the line and Falcao’s shot at Almunia were the clearest moments of danger. Diaby and Song overwhelmed Porto’s tireless, if a little functional midfield trio and the former in particular ran the show from deep in the first half.

Arsene Wenger’s selection was not particularly difficult or surprising but the decision on whether to start Andrey Arshavin was to signal Arsenal’s intentions. Would Wenger go for the jugular early on, knowing his most dynamic player would be unable to last for the full ninety-minutes or more? Or was he to unleash his lion later when the legs will invariable begins to tire but that being at the risk of potentially leaving the Russian with too much to do? As it proved it was to be an easy decision as Arshavin’s penetration and directness helped create three of the goals and was a constant menace all match.

The first goal for Nicklas Bendtner set the tempo up for the match and it was a task in which Nasri relished. His demand for the ball, control and movement would have created a fire for Raymond Domenech’s team of “stick-fetchers” while his slalom for the third was brilliant enough not to have even looked out of place at the Winter Olympics. And while Bendtner may look at times a giant-hooved Bambi on ice his link up play and balance gave Arsenal a focal point in which to play around once again. Emmanuel Eboue’sgoal from a devastatingly quick counter epitomised all that was good about Arsenal last night – confident, sleek and dynamic. The stuff of champions? They’re certainly not pretenders anymore.


8 thoughts on “Red hot Gunners rise to the occasion to power past Porto

  1. Ooh la la…telescopic legs! hahaha

    I thought Alex Song and Diaby were amazing in setting the tempo of the game and winning the ball back.

    I was disappointed with a few lazy square passes they made though.

  2. Congrats to all gunners for this victory.But can anyone explain AW’s death-wish in his post-match comments? Who says we are now good enough to beat Man Utd or Chelsea?

    To be honest, the safest draw we can(and we should) pray for is against Bordeaux or Bayern. Any other against one against Man Utd, Chelsea/Inter, Barcelona or Real means we are at the end of our annual CL journey.

    Except Barca, who I think are an ADVANCED/DIGITAL VERSION of Arsenal and who we will outplay us at our best, others like Inter, Man Utd or Real will simply sit back and counter attack knowing our defensive network is as strong as a cobweb.

    In the euphoria of beating Porto, AW should stop the mind(less) games against Man Utd and Chelsea(his obvious intentions)and get the boys to focus on Hull City and the rest of the season.

    1. Maybe you should check out what Wenger actually said as opposed to what the papers claimed he said before you start slating him.

  3. the whole team had a wonderful performance especially nasri, but to be honest i am not looking for man.united or chelsea as wenger is .bayern won;t be a bad draw. up gunners!!!

  4. Notice when Rosicky was subbed out he had run roughly 7 thousand metres compared to the team’s average of 4 thousand+. All that running and ball keeping he did soaked up much of the pressure that Porto mustered. Unsung hero.

  5. pretenders ? Damn u r krazie; we have never been pretenders, just fallen short due 2 one reason ot the other. Tha difference is dat our confidence is high dis tym n dats what lacked in da past years. Da tym is more mature n they have learnt 2 be more patient. Just wish arshavin could put more steel n commitment 2 his game.

  6. My friends alway ask me “why does bentdner miss so many times ?” I say hes just a decoy, we shoot from all angles and we dont just depend solely on our strikers.

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