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Awesome Arsenal power past Porto

Published: Wednesday 1 October 2008, 0.38CET
Arsenal FC 4-0 FC Porto
Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor scored two apiece as Arsenal recovered from weekend disappointment to issue a statement of intent.
by Simon Hart
from Arsenal Stadium
Awesome Arsenal power past Porto
Robin van Persie is congratulated after scoring Arsenal's third ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 1 October 2008, 0.38CET

Awesome Arsenal power past Porto

Arsenal FC 4-0 FC Porto
Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor scored two apiece as Arsenal recovered from weekend disappointment to issue a statement of intent.

Arsenal FC bounced back from their weekend humbling by Hull City AFC to take apart the pride of Portugal with a 4-0 victory against FC Porto in UEFA Champions League Group G.

Perfect response
Arsène Wenger had questioned his charges' carelessness in surrendering Premier League points on Saturday but they found the perfect response, Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor both scoring a goal in each half against opponents left to rue spurning key chances when the game was still goalless. Indeed the Portuguese champions, overtaken by Arsenal at the group summit, must be sick of visiting England after suffering a fifth loss here in as many seasons, and their heaviest defeat in the competition in eleven years.

Front foot
Arsenal, smarting from the surrender of their 17-month unbeaten home record, started on the front foot and created the first opportunity of note when Adebayor played in Theo Walcott only for Helton to turn behind his near-post shot. Van Persie then let fly from the edge of the box to draw a fingertip save from the goalkeeper but while Arsenal were dominating possession, Porto had not come just to defend.

Porto threat
After a quick breakaway in the 13th minute, Porto striker Cristián Rodríguez got his head to a Tomás Costa centre and diverted the ball down into the ground and up on to Manuel Almunia's crossbar. Wenger's team then survived an even bigger scare when, after Almunia had turned behind Lisandro's swerving shot, the same player nearly scored from the ensuing corner. Set-pieces have been Arsenal's undoing in both their Premier League defeats this term and they looked no less vulnerable when Rolando turned Tomás Costa's half-cleared delivery back towards goal and Lisandro slipped it under Almunia only to be foiled by Gaël Clichy's goalline clearance.

Goals arrive
Duly reprieved, Arsenal claimed a 31st-minute lead through Van Persie. Collecting Adebayor's headed flick 25 metres from goal, Cesc Fábregas spotted the big striker's run beyond the back line and slipped a perfectly timed return pass between two striped shirts. Adebayor, clean through, squared the ball across for Van Persie to turn it in. Nine minutes later it was two as Van Persie delivered a corner to the head of Adebayor who bulleted the ball down into the turf, then back up and into the net off the bar.

No coming back
Porto began the second period with playmaker Lucho – a fitness doubt beforehand – on in place of Fernando yet any hopes of a comeback died with Van Persie's second goal after 48 minutes. The visitors paid for their failure to clear by the left touchline and when the ball ran through to Van Persie inside the penalty area, he sidestepped Bruno Alves and shot low, via the hand of Helton, into the far corner. Now Arsenal were rampant and Walcott and Samir Nasri both missed when it appeared easier to score. Raul Meireles made way for Hulk on 64 minutes but the only thing incredible was that Arsenal added only one more goal, Adebayor tucking away a penalty after substitute Nicklas Bendtner was fouled by Freddy Guarín.

Last updated: 01/10/08 10.42CET

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