Clichy-Cesc-Kos-Seb-Den-Sagna-Nasri-Seb-Jack-Clichy-Kos-Cesc-lovely one two with Den-Cesc-Jack-Cesc-Arshavin-Vela-Goal!!! That was the story of the wonderful fifth goal last night and wasn't it sumptuous? It's hard to find words to describe just how good we were last night.
Despite what certain negative people in the media may say, you can only beat who is in front of you and Arsenal did that in the most comprehensive of manners last night. Braga were completely annihilated, Cesc had all the time in the world and orchestrated their demolition in the most brilliant of manners. The midfield battle was easily won, Braga were easily dispossessed time and time again and then they found it rather tricky to get the ball back, until it returned to the centre circle after a goal that was!
Cesc's professionalism was shown at the end by his disappointment that we didn't pulverise toe Portugese a bit more brutally and that he hadn't completed his first hat-trick as a professional. He was full of praise for Jack Wilshere who slotted into the side as if he had been there for years.
There wasn't a bad performance from an Arsenal player, although Arshavin was erratic, a lot of what he touched turned to gold. The defence was solid, Squillaci and Koscielny were very good given they have hardly known each other for five minutes. The stand out players for me were Jack and Cesc, instrumental in everything we did, they both share a delightful sixth footballing sense, their anticipation and movement was fantastic, simply too much for Braga to contain.
There will be bigger tests for sure, I do acknowledge that some of what the negative media say does hold water, our season's success will be decided by tougher games than this. Still, why not enjoy the moment and the football? It is amusing that suddenly Braga are useless and Werder Bremen are world beaters, is someone trying to level the playing field somewhat? Certainly we did all we could and the signs are encouraging, still we should keep our feet on the ground and as Cesc said, we need to learn how to concentrate for the full duration as better sides may well take advantage of any slack that they are handed.
As has been remarked upon elsewhere, there were some interesting points made in the match program notes by both Cesc and Arsene. I have heard a lot of weak, illogical and incoherent arguments that have tried to back up the FA's stance in recent days, and none of it has done anything to convince me that there is not a big problem in the way in which these kind of violent tackles can slip through the disciplinary net. John Cross covers Arsene's comments on this in expert fashion and highlights the way in which he is often unfairly pained by certain hacks.
The FA are certainly not helped by the backwards cretins at FIFA who seem to want to keep football firmly rooted in the 18th century. However retrospective punishment has been dished out in the past by both the FA (Ben Thatcher 2006) and UEFA (Eduardo charge) for incidents which were seen by the referee. The precedent has been set and Paul Robinson should be charged, if the structures genuinely prevent the FA doing this then they should be doing something to change the structures. It's that simple. Keeping everything the way it is for the sake of it is simply not healthy, some people may wish that women were still chained to the sink and witches still burnt at the stake, but progress does require that the old and failing be replaced with the new and effective from time to time.