Arsenal 5, Porto 0. Sit back and enjoy the positive energy.

There was not a passenger to be seen in the red and white as Arsene Wenger’s men produced a near-perfect attacking performance to comfortably overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit into a stunning 6-2 aggregate victory.

The star men were Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner, who shrugged off an erratic weekend performance against Burnley to register his first hat-trick for the club.

The Danish striker took full advantage of some terrific Arshavin’s lead-up work to shoot our boys into a 2-0 first-half lead before completing his trio from the penalty spot after substitute Emmanuel Eboue was pulled down in the area.

In between Bendtner’s second and third goals came an amazing strike from Nasri which put the tie to bed at a time when Porto were threatening most. Picking the ball up on right-hand side of the pitch the Frenchman bobbed and weaved past four defenders before slamming his shot in from an exceptionally tight angle.

A better goal has not been scored by an Arsenal player this season.

Nasri was given a huge opportunity in the role he craves ahead of Alex Song and Abou Diaby as the advanced midfielder in Cesc Fabregas’ absence and responded with a terrific performance. At times you couldn’t tell whether it was him or the captain controlling the game, sliding passes around nonchalantly and most importantly impacting on the score with a couple of pre-assists and a majestic goal.

Arsenal v Porto photo compilation by photographer Ryu Voelkel

His performance was a reminder of what he is capable of when played in his best position and made sure that the captain’s absence was not felt. He seems to be finding form at the right time after breaking his leg in pre-season and his last two games will surely give the manager the confidence to rely more heavily on Nasri in the remaining weeks of the campaign as Cesc’s fitness is carefully nurtured.

Shortly after Nasri’s wonder goal came a terrific breakaway effort created by Arshavin and completed by Eboue. It was effectively the Russian’s third assist of the evening and he was another that shone bright, producing some dazzling dribbling to torment Porto’s right-back time and time again. He showed no ill-effects from his recent hamstring injury and linked well with Nasri and Bendtner all night.

Then there was Bendtner.

On one hand there doesn’t seem much point embellishing on a hat-trick which was completed via two open-goal tap-ins and a penalty kick. But the fact that Bendtner ended the game with the match ball tucked under his arm was testament to two of his best characteristics as a player: his unerring self-confidence and the unique ability to be in the right place at the right time.

There’s no denying that last night should have been the Dane’s second hat-trick of the week rather than the first, but the fact that we can even say that shows what he is bringing to the team at the moment.

During the difficult winter period where Arshavin was asked to play up front for several games on the trot we produced some good results but were not playing good football or creating very many chances. Now, with Bendtner back in the side, we quite simply look awesome in attack. Whether he is scoring goals or not the fact is that we are playing better as a unit and a lot of that comes down to his presence in attack.

Sol Campbell returned to the side to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the back and both defenders had strong games. They were supported well by Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna too, who should also be applauded for the quality of their crossing on the night. So often we are critical of the wing-backs inability to deliver in dangerous balls into the area but there were no such problems against Porto.

Alex Song showed we he is just as important to the side as Cesc Fabregas with another typically dominant performance in the middle of the park, aided well by Diaby who held his position well and was disciplined enough to let Nasri do most of the attacking. On the right was Rosicky whose good performance was somewhat undermined by the great displays around him.

While it’s important to keep a sense of perspective after a performance and result like this – we haven’t won anything yet, this was only Porto, there’s a long way to go etc – I don’t think that perspective should get in the way of enjoying a terrific night for the club.

As supporters of this club we are continually spoilt with astonishingly attractive and attacking football and on nights like these it is worthwhile just sitting back and enjoying the positive energy that is pinging about just now.

We’re into the last eight of the competition yet again and regardless of who draw in the next round, we’ve reiterated our standing as one of the very best clubs in Europe.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s terrific 5-0 defeat of FC Porto by leaving a comment.

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27 Responses to “Arsenal 5, Porto 0. Sit back and enjoy the positive energy.”

  1. Shard
    March 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    A great performance. A brilliant victory. Let’s go on from this and win the match against hull. Looking forward to it.

    As regards individual performances i thought Sol in the first half was a little shaky. Though Almunia looked fairly solid(long may that continue). Rosicky also caught the eye a few times with his ability to turn and make space in the middle of the park.

    On an aside, whats up with the so called football pundits?It seems Bendtner bashing is the fashion these days. ESPN do it (here in India at least) and yesterday Carlton Palmer and the ex-newcastle player whose name I can’t remember were calling for Bendtner to be kicked out of the team!!!!! Both at half time and after the game. They say he doesn’t contribute anything to the team. How stupid can one get??

  2. Naylyn
    March 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    I love the team spirit that Arsenal have, it doesn’t feel like they are just playing for themselves. I think this was epitomised by Farbregas giving full credit to Nasri in his goal celebration against Burnley and Bendtner doing the same with Eboue after the penalty.

  3. Andrew Weber
    March 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    Anyone who bashes Bendtner after the last two games is quite simply a fool. He is really coming along.

  4. Robert
    March 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    Hey Web. Told you it would be a comfortable victory in the end. What is it with this Arsenal team that always want to re-write history… What a briliant piece of football. Oh The Arsenal. Great team effort but it has to be said that Bendtner deserves to be man of the match.

  5. Andrew Weber
    March 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    @ Robert – Good to see you were proved right. Nasri was man of the match for me, then Bendtner and Arsha.

  6. Robert
    March 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Another thing, Almunia… well i guess now that his got someone to aim his longballs at I’m a bit more satisfied. Did well to find Bendt time and again.

  7. Angie
    March 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    YOUHOU! just amazing game! this was such a great game! i have seen what I’ve always wished for: true football! I can’t be prouder to be an Arsenal fan! I can’t imagine what would have happened if Cesc played 🙂 7 may be ? it was a dream game…I can’t wait to see who’s our opponent in the quarter final ! and like Wenger I wanna see Manchester against us! that would be the best way to erase those horrible games against Chelsea and MU ! 🙂 go arsenal!
    Nasri, Asharvin and Bendter were incredible! I wanna see more! more more more!

  8. RichardB
    March 10, 2010 at 8:03 pm #

    Thanks for posting the highlights. Was great to see them again!!!

  9. MAYNARD
    March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    We were just terriffic on the night and every supporter was given a chance of witnessing a great game of attacking football.

  10. billi
    March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    haven’t seen the match, just great ❗

  11. indian gooner
    March 10, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    @shard : It’s that carlton palmer and john beresford……jackasses both of them on tensports…u should have seen their comments – “bendtner does what every striker has to do…score goals..but tell me what else he brings to the team, he cant control,his first touch is poor and cant head the ball?”…..u idiots what else is he supposed to bring to the team…if he scores enough goals in a match i dont care if he chats with the referee for the rest of the game…and cant head the ball??? did they see the match against stoke???no wonder they just played for lowly newcastle/BCFC…….

    on a positive note the game was absolute blinder……..more of the same…up the gunners

  12. Jon
    March 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    What an awesome game. Watching the Nasri goal again on highlights brings a tear to my eye. I love the emphatic finish slammed across the face of goal and off the inside of the goal post. Take that Porto!

    I was delighted to see Eboue score. He had a difficult year last year and easily could have adopted an Adebayor-like stance. But his effort and attitude have been good and it was nice to see the football gods smile down on him.

    Finally, I like having Sol the wily veteran at the back. He knows all the tricks. Seeing the frustration on the faces of opposing forwards like Hulk and Ricardo Fuller is exquisite.

  13. Mick#10
    March 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Another excellent performance from Bendtner; contrary to popular belief he WAS good against Burnley in ever facet of the game bar finishing (yes, it was rubbish). Well in Nick, hope to see more.

  14. jack
    March 10, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    did anybody notice that arshavin was offside for his header for the first goal?
    lucky these european refs are so useless 😛
    all in all a great performance though.

  15. SOBIN THE GOONER
    March 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    What a game.We showed some great display of attacking football which we r known for.Nasri’s goal was fabulous,which somewhat remains me of Henry’s goal at highbury.Bendtner and andrei show what they r capable of.Rosicky is also coming back to his form.If Eduardo also coming back to his form it will be our season.
    KEEP GOING GUNNERS.
    IN ARSENE WE TRUST

  16. MTY
    March 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    This team looks near perfect & B52 has given us the balance upfront.
    Only worry is the absence of Gallas!

  17. Moriaso wa Kenya
    March 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Well put. What more can i say? I however, have to single out DIABY…..he’s so important to us but guys don’t seem to notice.

  18. unchained
    March 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    great going.

  19. Robert
    March 11, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    @Moriaso wa Kenya. He had a splendid game again last night. Always been one of my star players

  20. DenverGooner
    March 11, 2010 at 12:42 am #

    As unpopular as this comment may sound, I feel the absence of Fabregas was a positive in Arsenal finding their form again. Without the controlling midfielder in the game, Arsenal was forced to get contributions out of every player to control the flow of the game and put goals in the net. This isn’t much different than when Cesc is on the pitch, but the sheer knowledge that the team did not have their “fallback player” to pass to encouraged everyone on the team to step up and make something happen. It is a true testament of just how good Arsenal can play when everyone is contributing and pulling their weight as opposed to only some players playing 100%. I hope this form will continue throughout the rest of the season so that when and if we face the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Barcelona, etc. we will be able to stand tall and proud with our performance instead of making excuses why we fell short again.

  21. bobby denjy
    March 11, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    good performance all round though the defence was a bit shaky at times. we need to consolidate and build on this result however considering the fact that clubs like ac/inter milan, rmadrid,barca etc. still lie wait.
    Come on boys and lets go on a 9 match winning run in the league and its ours and who knows? champions league luck might also follow!
    Once again congratulations to the boys/AW for a job well done.

  22. Pridesfoe
    March 11, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    I remember when the second half got underway getting really nervous. We were imprecise with passing, were struggling to get out of our own area. I really thought the commentators were giving us a righteous go, but then Nasri pulled magic out of nowhere and then it was a different game. That is exactly what we have been missing. That moment of inspiration, to change the game when we need to. Last night was a good time to be a gooner. C’MON ARSENAL!!!!

  23. Andrew Weber
    March 11, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    @ DenverGooner – That’s not an unpopular comment at all, totally justified. Nasri’s impact in the last two games is crucial I believe, it shows he can be relied upon and that will mean Cesc can be left out of certain games to nurse his leg.

  24. el bizarron
    March 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    I believed Arsenal’s quality would see them through, but never imagined a 5-nil drubbing. I was rooting for Bendtner to take his chances and am so happy to see him get a hat trick. No, they weren’t the prettiest goals, but he was johnny on the post when he needed to be. Arshavin’s dance around 3 defenders to set up Bendtner was magnificent. And Nasri doing the same on the left side has to be considered for the goal of the season. They stepped up wonderfully in Captain Awesome’s (that’s what I’m calling Fabregas after the Stoke match) absence. Brilliant stuff all around.

  25. halid
    March 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    love the team spirit….

  26. DJ RC
    March 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I Kinda agree the absence of Fab was blessing in disguise…….obviously everyone was tensed as we were in a crunch match n without our Talisman and I am writing after we have won.

    But getting this enormous win without him will boost our confidence sky high….!!!…To be frank we have enough quality in the team to get such wins……..!!

    Our problem has been injuries n lack of seasoned backups……if we can keep injuries away we can go through!!

  27. Anyang Abrahams
    March 12, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    The match between Arsenal and Porto was the best ever for the Gunners in the world of football more especially to soccer lovers of fans like me by taking world of soccer as the happiness for the current generations. On the other hand, although many fans and media talk of Arshavin and Bentdner were the best in the match against Porto, i disagree with them 100% because Nasri was the best man of the match and ever the young star for Gunners forever in the world of football.

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