Arsenal beat Braga of Portugal 6-0 on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Champions League. It was a stupendously good performance. It’s not that Braga were bereft of ideas or conviction, rather, simply, Arsenal were overwhelmingly good. Cesc Fabregas, who almost moved to Barcelona in the summer, was the pivot controlling the entire teams movement and through him the team created numerous opportunities, six of which they finished. Braga, who had finished second in the Portuguese Super Liga last season, behind Benfica, had qualified for the group stages of the Champions League after defeating Sevilla in the play off.
That success, which was no mean feat, ensured they arrived at the Emirates with a reputation worthy of respect. Ultimately that worked against them. Arsenal were aware they were playing a capable side and so did not relax even for a moment. Arsenal were consistent in their pressing off the ball and fluid in their passing when they had it. It was an exemplary performance of which their was only one lowlight. Cesc Fabregas didn’t manage to score his first hat trick for Arsenal, something he himself lamented in the post match press conference. He had scored two goals when there was still ample time to find a third. He did have opportunities to score it but the goalkeeper and a clearance off of the line ultimately denied him. On a separate occasion he might have shot for goal, when Arsenal were already guaranteed winners, but the Spaniard instead chose, unselfishly, to pass to Carlos Vela, allowing the Mexican to score another goal. Vela himself scored two on the night.
Chamakh, the new Arsenal centre forward signed in the summer on a Bosman free transfer from Bordeaux, was impressive throughout and also managed to score a goal. Arsenal face Sunderland on the weekend at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland will not have Lee Cattermole, their influential central midfielder, available as he is suspended for the clash, having been sent off twice this season already. Arsenal will now head into the match with glowing confidence, fully expecting to take three points from the fixture. Arsenal will be hoping to maintain this good form before they face Chelsea and Manchester City in the English Premiership in the next few weeks. Arsenal also have a forthcoming match against Tottenham Hotspur, their North London rivals, in the Carling Cup to contemplate. Arsene Wenger will believe that all these matches are winnable at this particular moment, despite Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott being injured, such is the form his team are displaying.