Fenerbahce 2-5 Arsenal

Theo Walcott
Walcott scored one goal and troubled Fenerbahce throughout

Arsenal consolidated their position at the top of Group G with an magnificent victory over Fenerbahce in Istanbul.

Emmanuel Adebayor slotted low to give Arsenal the lead and Theo Walcott rounded Volkan Demirel to make it two.

Fenerbahce got a goal back when Dani Guiza’s volley was poked into his own net by Mikael Silvestre but Abou Diaby fired the visitors into a 3-1 lead.

After Alex Song volleyed a fourth Guiza lobbed Manuel Almunia, but Aaron Ramsey came on and drilled a deserved fifth.

Ramsey replaced the superb Diaby on 73 minutes and provided a fitting end to a memorable evening for the north London club.

The Gunners were applauded from the field of play by the home supporters who, despite seeing their side’s chances of reaching the knockout rounds suffer a potentially fatal blow, recognised a fine display of attacking football.

Arsenal are now two points clear of Dynamo Kiev after they beat Porto away from home to leapfrog the Portuguese side into second place.

Fenerbahce were undefeated in 15 European games at home but showed exactly why they are struggling in their domestic league with a series of woeful defensive errors.

Injuries to Bacary Sagna, William Gallas and Kolo Tour forced Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to include Emmanuel Eboue, Song and Silvestre in an unfamiliar-looking back four.

The quartet was exposed throughout a testing evening but a combination of poor Fenerbahce finishing and a number of superb saves by Almunia limited the damage.

At the other end Arsenal were at times unstoppable, their speed of thought and movement leaving the home midfield and defence chasing shadows.

Luis Aragones’ men had been warned about Adebayor’s threat when he wriggled free and shot over the cross-bar in the fifth minute.

And, five minutes later, Fenerbahce were punished for their failure to get tight to the Togolese striker, who collected Cesc Fabregas’s precise through-ball and raced clear before coolly shooting past Volkan.

With the boisterous home crowd temporarily silenced, Arsenal went on the attack again and took full advantage of some more woeful marking from their opposition.

In similar circumstances to Arsenal’s opener, Fabregas picked up possession in midfield and slid a delicious slide-rule pass into the path of Walcott to jig past Volkan and tap home.

Fenerbahce might have been three goals down inside 13 minutes when Diaby beat Edu with an impressive piece of trickery on the right and crossed to the back post for Samir Nasri, whose shot was well saved by Volkan.

More soon.


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott with 8.24 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport’s Player Rater after the match has finished.

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