Arsenal wipe the floor with Porto

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 5:39 PM Posted by COME LETS PLAY
Big Dane Nicklas Bendtner made a pig’s ear of his finishing on Saturday but he brought home the bacon on Tuesday night.
Sizzling Bendtner scored his first senior hat-trick as Arsenal thrashed Porto 5-0 to secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals after being branded a joke for missing a succession of sitters against Burnley.
While Bendtner sparkled, the creative genius of Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin was crucial.
Nasri’s stunning individual goal was the pick of the night, while Emmanuel Eboue also struck after a lightning break. To think there were concerns the Gunners might go out of the competition after trailing 2-1 from the first leg of this last-16 clash in Porto.
They never looked in any serious danger and have hit such a rich vein of form that rivals at home and abroad have good reason to be concerned.
You cannot write them off from doing a Premier League and Champions League double just a few weeks after they were odds-on to win nothing at all.
Manager Arsene Wenger had insisted Bendtner’s confidence would not suffer because of Saturday’s howlers and that his striker had the mental strength to pull through.
How right he was. Arsenal were so effective that they probably deprived themselves of the accolades that should be their due. Porto were made to look feckless.
The visitors turned out to be the butt of all the sharp-witted football reeled off by Arsène Wenger’s side, but perhaps there ought to be a pause before ridicule starts.
Arsenal, 4-0 victors over Porto at the Emirates in September 2008, took the punishment a stage further.
Diminutive midfielder It was the freshness of the football, at this advanced stage in the campaign, that will hearten Wenger most as he considers the quarter-final. By the close, hardly anyone in the stadium would have recalled that Arsenal had needed to address a 21 deficit from the first leg.

They not only opened the scoring in the 10th minute to ease ahead on the away-goals rule, but did so in a fashion that illustrated the deep vulnerability in the visitors.
It is not, after all, Wenger’s way to depend on kick-outs from Manuel Almunia as an attacking strategy.

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