Arsenal pummels Braga at Emirates
Arsenal cruised to a 6-0 win over Portuguese team Braga in their opening Group H match in the Champions League on Wednesday, with captain Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Vela each scoring two goals.
Braga, which impressed in qualifying by beating Celtic and Sevilla to reach the group stage, was overrun at Emirates Stadium by Arsenal's blistering pace and intricate passing.
"We played the game we wanted to play, at a high pace with top technical quality and with a lot of creative attitude and a good concentration and collective spirit," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "Our game is based on that. It's our philosophy and, for long patches of the game, we managed to express that."
Arsenal was awarded a penalty early on when Marouane Chamakh was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Luiz Felipe. Fabregas converted from the spot in the ninth minute, beating Felipe to his left.
Braga's back line was sturdy up until the 30th, when Fabregas dribbled past two defenders and sent Andrei Arshavin through into the box. The Russia international beat the 'keeper at the near post with a fierce right-footed volley.
Arsenal's third goal came four minutes later. Jack Wilshere collected a pass in the area with two defenders around him and back-heeled the ball to Chamakh, who shot through the legs of a sliding defender and put the ball in the bottom corner of the net.
Fabregas scored with a rare header from close range from Arshavin's cross in the 53rd. Fabregas missed a chance for a hat trick four minutes later when his chip was cleared off the line by Braga defender Moises.
"It was good training because in the Premier League and the Champions League we will have games where we will not have it easy," Fabregas said.
Vela, a second-half substitute, scored Arsenal's fifth in the 69th after Arshavin dribbled into the box and sliced a pass between two defenders. Vela latched onto the ball and chipped it into the net.
Vela scored again in the 84th off a pass from Fabregas with a left-foot volley.
It was Braga's debut match in the Champions League group stage after finishing as runner-up in last season's Portuguese league. Braga, known as the "Arsenalistas," adopted the London club's team colors in 1921.
"We made so many mistakes," Braga coach Domingos Paciencia said through an interpreter. "It's very hard to play the game as badly as we have done tonight ... even finishing the game at halftime would have been a bad experience."
Wenger defended his attacking philosophy, saying his team and its style of play could win the Champions League.
"You have to think we are in the top eight in the index of coefficients in Europe thanks to our performances every year, but we haven't won it," he said. "As long as we haven't, people will question us. You win it with quality, it's as simple as that."