Lets first doff our cap to Cesc Fabregas. He orchestrated the first two goals. Scoring a penalty after Marouane Chamakh was brought down and then creating the goal for Andrei Arshavin. He was the midfield maestro pulling the strings.
Arsenal was undoubtedly helped by a generous Braga defense which gave them lots of space to roam. The third goal was Chamakh and Jack Wilshere. I have to say Chamakh is looking better with each game. That goal showed everything – a very nice first touch, great anticipation, and a cool finish. It brought an ear to ear smile from Wenger.
If Chamakh can keep this form then Arsenal should be able to weather the absence of Van Persie and Walcott in fine fashion.
Wilshere has a dogged quality that seems to rub off on his team mates- he is ubiquitous and reminds one of Flamini in his work ethic. And enough can’t be said about Alex Song, who is now looking every bit the quintessential hard man, disrupting the flow of the attack. The duo gave enough backfield support to Fabregas, Nasri, and Arshavin. This was the key- without that worry Arsenal was able to attack without compunction.
Arshavin looked like his former self especially in the second half. He unleashed an on the money cross for Fabregas to head home and then released Vela with a beautifully timed pass for the first his brace of goals. Arsenal really improves as a creative force when the Russian is on his game. Hopefully the turnaround continues.
Vela is the Mexican who is being talked about as Chicharito has turned cold and Giovanni Dos Santos now has to compete with a crowded midfield with Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, and Rafael Van der Vaart at Tottenham.
The defense did a bang up job and Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy were both excellent. Clichy who shown to be suspect against pace was able to keep up with the speedy Mateus and he worked hard getting the ball back. Koscielny looked commanding snuffing out the long balls, tackling decisively, and making it hard for Braga to go down the center. And Manuel Almunia looked sharp and strong.
A very satisfying display against a club that has proven a thorn to bigger opposition. But Braga had very little to brag about today.