Gunners hit Braga for 6
LONDON – Arsenal got their bid for a first Champions League triumph off to the perfect start yesterday at the Emirates with a dismantling of Portuguese side Braga.
The Gunners took seven minutes to go ahead, Cesc Fabregas scoring from the spot after a foul on Marouane Chamakh.
Andrey Arshavin slammed in Fabregas’s sublime pass, before Jack Wilshere superbly set up Chamakh to drill home.
Fabregas headed in to make it 4-0 and Carlos Vela dinked in a fifth before he stroked home another to wrap things up.
It was a display that epitomised everything boss Arsene Wenger holds dear as his Gunners team tore the Champions League debutants apart.
Arsenal brought their usual magnetic passing game to the European curtain-raiser, but they seemed to raise their level a notch above the norm with some fabulous interchanges that saw Braga spend most of the evening chasing shadows.
Wenger’s side are chasing an 11th successive place in the last 16 of the competition, and in a group also containing Shakhtar Donetsk and Partizan Belgrade there is little to suggest they will fail to make it beyond the group stage.
In front of an expectant Emirates Stadium crowd Arsenal were immediately into their stride and Braga, making their debut in the competition, looked overawed as a Fabregas-inspired Gunners swarmed all over them.
Also yesterday, Chelsea registered an emphatic 4-1 win over MSK Zilina as they got their bid for a first Champions League title under way.
Michael Essien sidefooted the visitors ahead before Nicolas Anelka added to the lead when he angled in a shot and poked in from close range.
Daniel Sturridge rounded keeper Martin Dubravka to slot in Chelsea’s fourth.
But Petr Cech missed a cross, which was inadvertently headed goalwards by Branislav Ivanovic, and Tomas Oravec grabbed a consolation Zilina goal.
Chelsea have been in free-scoring mode in the Premier League this season and continued in the same vein as they took Zilina apart to take their tally to 21 goals in five games.
It was a return to the venue where Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich tasted his first game after buying the London club in the summer of 2003. (AP)