On one of the best European nights in England, Arsenal demolislished Slavia Prague at the Emirates Stadium. In front of 60,000 fans, the Gunners put seven past the hapless Czech team. Theo Walcott matured in 90 minutes as Fabregas once again lived upto his reputation and Hleb put in a wonderful showcase of his talent.
The first goal from Fabregas was a beauty, curling from the edge of the box, after Hleb did his dancing around 2 defenders and passed it to Fabregas. The 5th minute goal set the tone for the match and it did not turnout to be one of those “it cud have been a 7-0 match”, but it indeed was a 7-0 match. Infact if Adebayor had taken his chances, the scoreline could have been 10-0! Hleb got involved again, striking a shot of a rebound from the corner towards the crowded goal line. It got a lucky deflection and that was goal no.2 for Arsenal. Hleb was all over the park and Slavia Prague did try to pass around themselves and take a shot at goal. If I remember correctly, Almunia made couple of saves and one of them was a tough one.
Walcott had a his first Champions League goal gifted to him by the Praha goalie who failed to clear the ball and presented Walcott with the ball. He still had work to do. He beat the keeper and hit it clear of the diving defenders. That gave him some confidence and his runs and twists and turns around the field was quite a sight. Arsenal went into half time 3-0 up.
Second half started in similar fashion, and a brief period of 10-15 minutes was absolutely stunning football from Arsenal which resulted in 3 goals for the gunners. Hleb had his goal first, a neatly stuck shot sending the defenders and the goalie the wrong way. I have a feeling that Hleb is looking set to take the role of Bergkamp in this Arsenal team. His dribbling and ball holding skill is exceptional. Walcott hit his Henry-like goal next and it was definitely a classy goal from the youngster. This performance will definitely boost his confidence and he is set for a brilliant career in this team. The next one was a classy counter attack following a corner at the other end. Hleb to Adebayor, who did his part in holding the ball and passing it to Walcott who cushioned the ball for Fabregas to slot it in.
S ubstitutions followed and the tempo slowed down a bit. But Rosicky, Gilberto and Bendtner were worthy replacements. But I thought all the forward efforts were orchestrated for Walcott to hit his hat-trick which never happened. But Bendtner got his first Champions League goal in style, keeping the defender at bay and pushing it in.
It was a great nite and for fans all around the globe this must have come as a great curtain-raiser for the weekend biggie against Liverpool. I can only hope that Arsenal build from here and have a wonderful 2 weeks ahead.