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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 22, 2008

Wenger "very proud" of five-goal Gunners

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reflected on a job well done as his side hammered Fenerbahce 5-2 in the most open of Champions League matches in Istanbul.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott put the Gunners 2-0 up inside 11 minutes and although Mikael Silvestre's own goal reduced the deficit, Abou Diaby restored the Gunners' cushion.

Four minutes after half-time Alex Song volleyed in a fourth and although Spain striker Daniel Guiza pulled one back, substitute Aaron Ramsey completed the rout in injury-time.

It also allowed Arsenal to extend their lead at the top of Group G by a point after Dynamo Kiev won in Porto to move to into second, two behind the unbeaten Gunners.

With the defence down to bare bones and a five-man midfield, there were a number of questions Wenger's side had to answer in the volatile atmosphere of the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

The back four did not cover themselves in glory, allowing Spain striker Guiza too many chances which, on another day, would have brought him a hat-trick.

But the resting of forward Robin van Persie handed Diaby, who had been out since August with a thigh injury, a place in midfield and he showed his versatility by regularly getting forward and scoring the important third goal.

''I believe Diaby can be a player who can play between midfield and the strikers and has good penetrating power,'' said Wenger.

''I wanted to rest Van Persie because he played 90 minutes on Saturday for only the third time [this season] and I did not want to gamble.

''But Diaby would have played any way. It is the first game he has played for three months and he has responded remarkably well.''

Wenger also paid tribute to his team's attacking invention and desire - highlighted by Ramsey scoring in the fourth minute of injury-time when the Gunners should really have been looking to hold on to what they had.

Prior to last night Fenerbahce had not lost at home in Europe in 16 matches but they were torn to shreds in the opening 21 minutes.

''Because the two teams were going forward it was a very open game and Fenerbahce are an attacking side and are very dangerous going forward,'' said the Frenchman.

''The fact we scored an early goal forced Fenerbahce to come out and we caught them many times on the counter-attack.

''Our pace, movement and technique made the difference and allowed us to take advantage of it but it was not an easy game.

''I am very proud of the team. The average age was 23 and I am proud because we came in and tried to dictate the game in a very heated atmosphere.

''It is very pleasing that they seemed to play with no fear. I am pleased to see it works.

''We came here and had a go. We started strong, we remained quite strong and we finished strong.''

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