Cruise control for Gunners
Arsenal replicated their imperious domestic form on the European arena as they made light work of beating Sevilla.
Last Updated: 19/09/07 10:38pm
Arsenal replicated their imperious domestic form on the European arena as they made light work of Sevilla, in opening their UEFA Champions League account with a 3-0 victory at Emirates Stadium.
Prior to their visit to the capital Sevilla were much feted, billed as dark horses by those that had observed their domination in winning the Uefa Cup in successive seasons.
On their promotion to Europe's premier competition they found it decidedly tougher though, as Arsene Wenger's band of starlets put in an accomplished display which belied their tender years.
It was midfield talisman Cesc Fabregas at the heart of Arsenal's victory as he opened the scoring in the first half, albeit thanks to a huge deflection off Sevilla defender Julien Escude.
Sevilla's response was disappointing as Manuel Almunia was forced into just one noticeable save, from Freddie Kanoute, before in the second half Arsenal cruised to victory.
Robin van Persie ended any lingering nerves when he stole in at the back post to convert Fabregas' devilish delivery and then in injury time, substitute Eduardo da Silva scored the game's final goal from the Spaniard's pass.
There was plenty of vocal support from the home crowd, Emirates Stadium packed close to its 60,000 capacity - more than can be said for Stamford Bridge across in West London on Tuesday.
After Jesus Navas had drilled a 20-yard strike only inches over the crossbar, Arsenal slowly upped the tempo.
Van Persie stung the hands of Andres Palop with a fierce drive from the edge of the box after skipping a couple of agricultural challenges from the Sevilla defence, before Emmanuel Adebayor slid in as the visiting goalkeeper then spilled a low strike from Mathieu Flamini.
The Gunners snatched the lead on 27 minutes when Fabregas picked the ball up around 25 yards from goal, before his well struck shot took a wicked deflection off Escude and flew past the wrong-footed Palop into the opposite corner.
Arsenal created another decent opening when Adebayor cut in from the left and charged towards the penalty spot, only to shoot hurriedly wide.
At the other end, Gunners goalkeeper Almunia - with little to do so far - had to be alert to beat away an angled drive from Kanoute.
As the hour mark approached, Arsenal were awarded a free-kick on the left when Daniel Alves bundled over Flamini.
Van the man
The delivery from Fabregas into the six-yard box was flicked on by Bakari Sagna and Van Persie arrived on cue at the far post to smash the ball home from close range.
With the points now all but safe, Arsenal were able to relax somewhat, yet still needed to be alert to the quick counter-attacks from the Spaniards.
Former Spurs man Kanoute was roundly booed by sections of the home fans when he was on the ball, but it was his run down the right which resulted in a scramble in the Arsenal six-yard box which could easily have been put away.
Adebayor flashed a diving header just wide of the far post following a determined run and cross from Sagna down the right.
In stoppage time, substitute Eduardo - the man bought following the sale of Thierry Henry - swept home from close range after a neat exchange between Alexander Hleb and Fabregas.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||1|
|7||Shots off Target||8|