Clinical! That was one clinical display of football. It was the brilliance of Arsenal in the final third that proved to be the difference this time as we made it look simple.
The game started with us taking the early initiative. We moved the ball around well with some lovely play by Wilshere, Chamakh and Rosicky. We were continuously probing for the goal. Credit to Shakhtar for being disciplined at the back. We were rewarded for continuously harassing the Shakhtar defence. It was a mistake by the keeper that allowed Song to put the ball in the back of the net. Nasri delivered a corner and Squillaci flicked the ball with his head towards the far post. The keeper fumbled the ball and the alertness of Djourou allowed Song to get the ball who scored. Before this Fabregas had floated a ball in towards Chamakh but it was half cleared towards Nasri whose delivery was cleared for a corner.
The goal should have opened up the match a bit but Shakhtar were letting us play. We kept on probing as they remained tight at the back. Nasri had a shot saved after Chamkah nodded an aerial ball towards him. In between our attacks Shakhtar had a rare shot on goal after they got a corner. Song was the provider on the second goal. He ran down the right side and delivered a cross which was deflected towards Nasri who controlled it and smashed it past the keeper. Two nil to us with 42 minutes. The game was over as a contest by this time as the first half ended in our favor.
The second half was a bit more open. Luiz Adriano brought out a low save from Fabianski. Still we were knocking the ball around with ease. The third goal for us came from a penalty. Penalty was awarded when Djourou was rugby-tackled in the danger area when Fabregas delivered from a free kick. From the resulting spot kick, Fabregas perfectly slotted the ball into the top corner. No chance for the keeper.
At three nil up, Fabregas was subbed and Denilson came on. We continued our dominance. The fourth goal was a treat to watch. Chamakh, Rosicky and Wilshere all were involved in a mesmerizing one-touch passing. Chamakh flicked the ball to Wilshere who had a one-two with Rosicky and then clipped the ball over the keeper for his first goal in the Champions league.
The 5th goal arrived soon after. Eboue passed the ball to Nasri who lobbed it over exquisitely to Chamakh. He had all the time to score as he checked the linesman for an offside before tapping it past the keeper. Chamakh and Nasri gave way to Arshavin and Walcott as the game was over by quite a margin now. Consolation goal for Shakhtar came in the 82nd minute as Eduardo coolly half-volleyed the ball into the back of the net for a standing ovation from the whole stadium. Walcott had a chance near the end as did Denilson as the game came to an end.
You may say that the game was boring at times as we took things slowly and Shakhtar didn’t really try much. I believe that it was our technical superiority and the way we performed that made it look like a walk in the park .They were very disciplined and tight at the back and didn’t give us many chances ( the stats would tell the clear picture). We had to remain patient for most of the first half as we tried to find openings for goal and when we had them, we didn’t miss. The second half was better as they came out to attack us more which led us to have more space up front.
The good thing about the match was the statistics. We had less possession, we had few on shots on goal as compared to what we usually have and yet we had plenty of passes put together and we scored 5 times. Clinical? Yes, we were clinical last night and took our chances when he had them. The goal that Nasri scored is the type of goal we need to score more often. We scored a goal from a corner, we had a goal after some quick, accurate passing and one was scored with an exquisite lob. It had everything that we want from our team i.e. Width, accuracy, passing and finishing.
It was really good to see Eduardo. When he came on he made things happen for Shakhtar and took his goal very nicely. He stayed true to his word as he didn’t celebrate the goal as the whole stadium was standing and clapping for him. A great moment.
As for not having a clean in yet another match, well if it was any one other than Eduardo, I would not have liked it at all.
Other than that our whole team worked hard and we made things look too easy. We clearly showed our technical superiority. This win has all but ensured that we will top this group. So the focus will now be more on the league and domestic cups.
Coming to Ratings:
Fabianski: Didn’t have much to do except the save early on in the second half. Made a few good clearences. Could not have done anything on the goal. Overall another solid performance. 7
Eboue: Was good going forward and decent at the back. Wasn’t troubled much. 6.5
Squillaci: Again didn’t have much to do except you can say that didn’t block Eduardo well for the goal. Solid whenever called upon. 6.5
Djourou: Improved performance for him. Did well on all occasions and was involved in the first goal. 7
Clichy: Improved performance by him too as he was good at the back. Some good interceptions and forward runs too. 6.5
Wilshere: Another outstanding performance by him. Scored a beauty of a goal. Good movement and buildup play, great passing and read the game well. Needs to be careful while tackling though. MOTM 8
Song: Scored a goal, assisted in another and involved throughout the game. Defensively was sound and covered the pitch well from one end to another. 7.5
Fabregas: Started slowly, still controlled the game. Delivered some good balls in. Scored a perfect penalty. 6.5
Nasri: Was quite from time to time but made his presence felt with a thumping goal. Was more involved in the second half and delivered an excellent ball to Chamakh. 7
Chamakh: Well he has been excellent in all the games for us so far. His work rate his awesome. Scored a goal and was involved in most of the moves. 7
Rosicky: Involved up front and did well on his defensive duties by tracking back. Made some good runs and passed the ball around well. Good one-two with Wilshere for the fourth goal. 7
Denilson: Good match for him. This season he hasn’t featured much but when he has he hasn’t disappointed. Could have even scored in the end. 6.5
Walcott and Arshavin: Walcott had a good appearance, took a shot on goal. Arshavin was quiet though. Otherwise there wasn’t much time for them to make an impact. No Ratings
Stats via @Orbinho
Arsenal vs Shakhtar
On target 7-2
Duels Won 45% – 55%
Passing accuracy 89% – 84%
Possession 55% – 45%
So now all the attention moves onto the Man City match this Sunday. Hopefully we will carry the same energy into that game.
Keep the faith.