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Page last updated at 20:34 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 21:34 UK

Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto

By Ian Hughes

Robin van Persie
Van Persie put Arsenal ahead with his first European goal for a year

Arsenal comfortably overcame Porto to get their home campaign in Champions League Group G off to a perfect start.

Cristian Rodriguez's header hit the bar and Lisandro's shot was cleared off the line as Arsenal were lucky early on.

But Robin van Persie slid in to convert Emmanuel Adebayor's cross to open the scoring and the Dutchman's corner was headed in by Adebayor to make it 2-0.

Van Persie toe-poked his second on 48 minutes before Adebayor's penalty after a foul on Nicklas Bendtner sealed it.

Arsenal could even afford to miss a host of chances - unlike at the weekend in a shock defeat by Hull - as they cantered to a vital three points.

Wenger impressed by focused Gunners

Following that loss at the weekend, manager Arsene Wenger had vowed to ring the changes but instead he made only one, bringing in Samir Nasri for Emmanuel Eboue.

However, it was soon evident that while the Gunners' personnel was virtually unchanged, their attitude from the weekend could not have been more different.

On eight minutes Nasri nudged the ball out to Theo Walcott, whose shot from a tight angle was beaten away at the near post.

That was an indication of what was to come from the England winger, who gave a performance of pace, trickery and confidence.

606: DEBATE

And in midfield, Cesc Fabregas was afforded space and time to pick his passes - and Van Persie almost opened the scoring from one threaded ball from the Spaniard but his curling shot was well saved.

Yet if all was working smoothly in attack, Porto soon exposed Arsenal at the back and Rodriguez's downward diving header bounced up onto the top of the bar.

Soon after, the visitors came even closer to taking the lead when Arsenal failed to clear a corner and Lisandro's shot from six yards was scrambled off the line by Gael Clichy.

Fortunately for Arsenal, Van Persie soothed any home nerves when he struck on 31 minutes following a superb Fabregas pass that picked out Adebayor to supply a cross that made it easy for the Dutchman.

Ten minutes later, Arsenal doubled their lead when Van Persie turned provider, planting a corner on to the head of Adebayor, who headed the ball down and in off the underside of the bar.

Soon after the restart Porto threw away any hopes they had of clawing their way back into the game when a defensive mix-up handed Van Persie the chance to clinically finish from just inside the box.

After that it was all Arsenal and a question of how many goals they would score - or how many opportunities they would miss.

Walcott was first up to scuff from six yards - which provoked a smile from watching England boss Fabio Capello - and then Nasri did the same.

Fabregas then saw a shot spilled and Adebyaor could not convert the follow-up.

But Arsenal were to get a fourth when Bendtner was felled in the area and Adebayor confidently stroked home the spot-kick.

The giant striker should have had a hat-trick but scuffed a shot wide late on, but by then it was all academic.


Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott (Vela 71), Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri (Eboue 64), Van Persie (Bendtner 64), Adebayor.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou.

Booked: Clichy.

Goals: Van Persie 31, Adebayor 40, Van Persie 48, Adebayor 71 pen.

FC Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Benitez, Guarin, Costa, Fernando (Lucho Gonzalez 46), Raul Meireles (Hulk 64), Rodriguez (Candeias 79), Lopez.
Subs Not Used: Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Stepanov, Lino.

Booked: Costa.

Att: 59,623

Ref: Herbert Fandel (Germany).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal's Robin van Persie with 8.29 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
Arsenal response pleases Wenger
30 Sep 08 |  Europe
Champions League as it happened
30 Sep 08 |  Europe
Arsenal Player Rater
13 Dec 06 |  Live Text
Arsenal match stats
15 Aug 06 |  Live Text
Champions League photos
30 Sep 08 |  Football
Wenger proud of attacking legacy
29 Sep 08 |  Arsenal
Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Arsenal
17 Sep 08 |  Europe


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