Arsenal took apart Porto at the Emirates Stadium as they decimated the visitors 5-0 to advance to the next stage of the Champions League.
By Vincent Lai
Goals from Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue and a hat-trick from Nicklas Bendtder did the trick for the Gunners, as they wiped out Porto’s 2-1 first leg lead to win with a 6-2 aggregate score.
Here’s how the individual players from each team performed:
Manuel Almunia: 5
Had nothing to do the entire game. Almunia pocketed his clean sheet bonus with the help of his backline.
Bacary Sagna: 6
Bombed forward often to add width to Arsenal’s attack. On the defensive end, shackled Pereira and Meireles with ease.
Sol Campbell: 5
The veteran centre-back did not look match-fit and lacked the pace to be effective in this end-to-end game. Luckily for him, his backline team-mates stepped up.
Thomas Vermaelen: 7
Covered well for Campbell, diving for tackles that should not have been his and kept Hulk quiet in this game.
Gael Clichy: 6
Covered a lot of ground in this game as he overlapped and tracked back to defend with great frequency. Locked down Miceal and Fucile for ninety minutes.
Samir Nasri (off 72′): 8
Showed flashes of brilliance in the first half and released Andrey Arshavin with a precise through pass that resulted in Bendtner’s goal. Nasri came alive in the second half and scored after slaloming past two defenders before placing the ball past Helton off the far post.
Alex Song: 8
Arsenal’s unsung hero as he did the dirty work for the team. Won possession for his team time and time again, and had the skill to initiate the Gunners’ flowing attacking from the middle of the park.
Abou Diaby: 6
Did well to spread play in the midfield, but could have done better by not giving away the ball needlessly in the final third of the pitch.
Tomas Rosicky (off 57′): 6
Showed some creativity early in the first half, but faded as time went on. Could have scored as well if not for some brilliant goalkeeping from Helton in the first half.
Nicklas Bendtner: 8
The Dane was at the right place, at the right time to tap in his first two goals. Sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot to earn his first hat-trick at senior level.
Andrey Arshavin (off 76′): 7
Arsenal’s creative engine in the final third of the pitch. Arshavin wasn’t at his best, but he terrorized the Porto defence, creating two great chances for Bendtner to score.
Theo Walcott (on 76′): 5
Looked a little rusty in this game.
Denilson (on 72′): 6
Did well to keep the Arsenal locomotive running when he came on.
Emmanuel Eboue (on 57′): 7
Came off the bench in the second half and impacted the game as he managed to round Helton up before slotting the ball into an empty net in the 66th minute. Earned Arsenal’s penalty in stoppage time, which Bendtner coverted to complete his hat-trick.
Had a really bad day in the office as he was beaten by two tap-ins, a ball that was fired across the goal into the net and a fourth where he was rounded up by Eboue.
Jorge Fucile: 3
Gave the ball away close to his penalty area to Arshavin with no defensive pressure whatsoever, and the Russian made the right-back pay for his costly mistake.
Could not keep out Bendtner as the Dane shoved him aside to score the first. Failed again to keep Bendtner out as the Gunners forward had the easiest of tap-ins for his second goal of the game.
Bruno Alves: 4
The Portuguese player of the year did not play like one in this game, failing to keep out the Gunners’ frontline as they decimated Helton’s penalty area. Got totally bamboozled by Eboue for Arsenal fourth goal in the 66th minute.
Alvaro Pereira: 3
The left-back proved to be of some use going forward, but his horrible defence against Nasri for Arsenal’s third goal in the 63rd minute cancelled out any effectiveness he had upfront.
Ruben Micael (off 75′): 5
Not sure if he even played as he played the part of the ‘invisible man’ so well.
Nuno Andre Coelho (off 46′): 5
Kept the ball moving along but could not provide any passes forward and was forced to lay the ball off sideways all game.
Raul Meireles: 6
Provided some guile in the middle but his efforts paled in comparison against the smooth-flowing juggernaut that is the Arsenal attack.
Silvestre Varela (off 76′): 5
Failed to keep up with the pace of the game, and seemed more comfortable on the ball when the game slowed down occasionally.
Radamel Falcao: 7
If anyone could have salvaged the situation for Porto, it would have been Falcao. The Colombian terrorized Sol Campbell and the Arsenal backline throughout the game with his pace and trickery.
The Hulk didn’t get angry and turn green in this game, and that’s bad news for Porto as his tame display did them no favours as they crashed out of the Champions League.
Freddy Guarin (on 75′): 5
Came on when the score was 4-0, and his performance was inconsequential to the final score.
Cristian Rodriguez (on 46′): 6
Came on and tried to improve play in the midfield, but just did not have the quality to outclass the Gunners’ midfield.
Mariano Gonzalez (on 76′): 5
Did not do a whole lot in the game.