Sublime Wilshere lights up Gunners stroll
Shakhtar D 1
Arsenal fans greeted each one of the six goals ecstatically here, even the visitors' consolation effort.
After Alex Song, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Marouane Chamakh had put Arsenal over the horizon, and all but installed in the knockout section of the Champions League, Shakhtar Donetsk pulled one back through Eduardo and the Emirates stood in an emotional salute to a former favourite.
Utterly imperious, Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 system simply proved far too strong and they were three goals clear by the hour-mark. Arsenal were so in charge they could afford to remove Fabregas shortly after he had added to the goals from Song and Nasri from the penalty spot.
Arsenal fans were always going to welcome Eduardo back, but it was particularly easy to give him an emotional salute when he emerged from the Shakhtar bench. The points were won, the game over, so Arsenal could afford to be generous. When the outstanding Wilshere then capped a mesmerising move, and Chamakh added a fifth, the Emirates was really in party mood, and there was still 15 minutes remaining.
Nasri created Arsenal's first, sweeping in a corner that Shakhtar's 'keeper, Andriy Pyatov, made a total hash of. Dropping the ball at the feet of Johan Djourou, the 'keeper looked in horror as the Arsenal defender worked it goalwards. Song met the ball with an attempted flick, the ball hitting the grounded Olexandr Kucher and bouncing back in off Song..
Wilshere's initial deployment, deep before pushing up, will have provided food for thought for Fabio Capello, the England manager who is considering starting the teenager against France next month. Wilshere was shielding the back-four, but also supplementing attack.
Unfortunately, the youngster's tendency to rashness in the tackle was again witnessed. Three days after being dismissed for a filthy lunge at Nikola Zigic of Birmingham City, Wilshere went in hard and late on the Shakhtar midfielder, Tomas Hubschman but escaped with a lecture.
Nasri's goal just before the break ended any hopes at a comeback and when Johan Djorou was hauled down, Fabregas stepped up to make it 3-0. There was more, much more. Fabregas' departure allowed Wilshere to push and he filled his clever boots. One run through the middle, involving one-two with Chamakh and then Tomas Rosicky swept Wilshere through on goal. As Pyatov ran off, Wilshere sublimely lifted the ball over him -- 4-0.
Another run from Wilshere climaxed with Nasri chipping the ball through for Chamakh. Arsenal's centre-forward checked whether he was onside -- he was -- before shooting home: 5-0.
Arsenal fans even celebrated Shakhtar's goal, expertly driven home by Eduardo. Job done for Arsenal and soon Wenger can rest some of his stars in Europe. (© Daily Telegraph, London)