Arsenal FC midfielder Denilson believes his team are primed to make their biggest impact yet in the UEFA Champions League after demolishing FC Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 with another rich array of goals.
With 14 scored in three games and a three-point advantage over the Ukrainian side, their nearest challengers in Group H whom they face again in Donetsk in two weeks' time, the north London club are poised once more to make qualification for the knockout rounds a formality.
"We are obviously pleased with the result and the performance and these are very exciting times for us in the Champions League," said Denilson, 22, after the victory at Arsenal Stadium. "We are stronger this season and the new players that have come in have added to the group. We have a lot of experience in this competition and we believe we can do better than before."
The Brazilian took over from Cesc Fàbregas in the second half, four minutes after the captain, back after missing five matches through injury, had got the Gunners' third from the penalty spot. From there it became a procession as Shakhtar's resistance crumbled, Jack Wilshere scoring in exquisite fashion after a one-two with Tomáš Rosický before Marouane Chamakh notched a fifth.
They were the first goals Shakhtar had conceded in this season's competition and Denilson was not alone in being surprised at how easily Arsenal, the 2006 runners-up, were able to build another large tally.
"They have been doing well so far so it was a surprise [that we scored five] but we are a good team and things are all coming together," he added. "The game in two weeks will be a much more difficult test. They will be coming at us hard."
Arsenal's opener was the result of a misjudgement by visiting goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov who dropped a high ball when under no pressure, allowing Alex Song to register with a back-heel.
Shakhtar defender Răzvan Raţ, who hailed the "brilliant execution" of Samir Nasri for Arsenal's second goal, said his team – who claimed the slimmest of consolations with a strike eight minutes from time by Eduardo on his return to his former club – had started well and had not looked in danger before the first goal went in.
"We know Arsenal are a very good team, especially at home, and the mistake was unfortunate for us," said the Romanian international. "They just got stronger and stronger while we collapsed in the second half.
"We had done well in our first two games and we did not expect to concede five goals. It is difficult to talk so soon after the game and explain it but of course there is the chance to put matters right at home. That will be a different game."
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