Fabregas masterclass shows that this could be Arsenal’s year
The talent of Arsenal’s young guns has never been doubted and more performances like the one that comprehensively dispatched of Braga will leave them as worthy contenders to win the Champions League this season.
It is clear that Arsene Wenger’s squad is better than last seasons in terms of the youngsters being a year older, but it remains to be seen if they can still mix it with the biggest guns in the competition.
Arsenal are 12/1 to win the Champions League but much harder nights lie in wait than that experienced against Braga.
Keeping Cesc Fabregas from the clutches of Barcelona was imperative to Arsenal and he displayed why by running the show against the Portuguese outfit on their Champions League debut.
Playing in a more advanced role virtually off the shoulder of Marouane Chamakh, he was able to orchestrate every attack and find the net twice himself.
But the space afforded to him by Braga was laughable at times and he almost certainly will not benefit from such vast amounts of room when more experienced managers pick their team to down the Gunners.
Although young, Jack Wilshere displays more craft in the middle of the park than Abou Diaby, but the Frenchman can be called upon when a more physical display is required to wrestle control of the centre of midfield.
Meanwhile, Theo Walcott will feature when extra pace is needed out wide, particularly when full-backs are known for a shortage of pace or against teams with wingers with a tendancy to neglect their defensive duties.
Shahktar beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in the other game in the group, but Arsenal remain heavy favourites at 1/5 to top Group H. See the complete Group H betting market.