Arsenal win with ease against Shakhtar

Arsenal 5 Shakhtar Donetsk 1

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas returned from injury to help the Gunners all but secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 5-1 romp against Group H rivals Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Ukrainians had brought an impressive record to Emirates Stadium, defending a 100% return so far in Europe, not to mention 15 wins from 17 games at home.

However, Arsenal made them look ordinary this evening, barely getting out of second gear as Alex Song was gifted an early goal following a terrible fumble by Shakhtar keeper Andrei Pyatov - and Arsene Wenger's men never looked back.

In-form winger Samir Nasri smashed home his second goal in three days to make it 2-0 before the break, with Fabregas' spot-kick ending the game as a contest on the hour while Jack Wilshere and Marouane Chamakh completing the rout.

Croatia striker Eduardo, sold during the summer, netted a fine consolation goal on the return to his former club with seven minutes left, which brought a round of applause from the home fans.

Arsenal now head out to Donetsk in a fortnight knowing a point from their remaining three matches, one at home, would probably secure a top-two finish.



The Gunners had already chalked up some nine goals in the Champions League, hitting new boys Braga for six in their opening match.



However, it was not expected to be an easy ride against the Ukrainian champions, who had lost only one of their last 26 matches in all competitions.



Following the anticipated cagey start, Arsenal created an opening when Fabregas - out since mid-September with a hamstring problem - floated the ball just over Chamakh.



Shakhtar, however, were breaking up play well in midfield before defender Razvan Rat sent a 25-yard effort wide.



Arsenal then took the lead on 19 minutes with a scrappy goal, following a terrible error by the Shakhtar goalkeeper.



Pyatov was under no pressure when he came to collect a corner, but contrived to drop the ball in the six-yard box.



Emmanuel Eboue reacted quickly to stab the loose ball goalwards, which Song flicked on, before Olexander Kucher's clearance ricocheted back off the Cameroon midfielder and over the line.



Nasri almost made it 2-0 moments later with a long-range effort which flew straight at Pyatov and this time the Shakhtar keeper just about held on.



Wilshere - serving a three-match domestic suspension after his much-talked about red card against Birmingham - was late with a challenge on Tomas Hubschman which left the Shakhtar midfielder in a heap. However, Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen deemed a stern lecture the only action needed.



Shakhtar had a couple of long-range efforts which failed to hit the target.



It proved costly as Arsenal doubled their lead on 42 minutes.



Eboue and Song worked the ball down the right, before the midfielder sent a cross into the penalty area, which deflected through to Nasri on the far side.



The in-form French winger sidestepped Darijo Srna before smashing the ball past Pyatov.



Shakhtar could have reduced the deficit at the start of the second half when Song lost possession and Henrik Mkhitaryan fed Luis Adriano, who sprinted into the box, but Lukasz Fabianski made a smart save.



Arsenal were then gifted a third goal from the penalty spot on the hour after Adriano had wrestled Johan Djourou to the ground.



Fabregas stepped up to smash the ball into the top-left corner - and lifted up his shirt to reveal a Catalan birthday message for his mum.



With the job done, the Spanish World Cup winner was given a rest as Brazil youngster Denilson came on.



There was then a standing ovation from the home fans as Eduardo - who had battled back from an horrific broken leg and dislocated ankle at Birmingham in February 2008 - was introduced for Adriano.



It was exhibition stuff from Arsenal now, as Chamakh and Tomas Rosicky exchanged passes to release Wilshere into the area, and he chipped in number four on 66 minutes.



Morocco striker Chamakh then sprang the offside trap, played on by the full-back, to slot home his sixth goal of the campaign.



With 20 minutes left, Arsenal sent on Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott - making his first appearance since injuring ankle ligaments when paying for England during September.



But perhaps fittingly it was Eduardo who had the final say, volleying home a well-taken effort in the closing stages, which he did not celebrate while receiving applause from the home fans.

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
Sport
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea players celebrate Demba Ba's goal and Gus Poyet
sportLive coverage of today's final game between Chelsea and Sunderland
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
The North Korean TV advert for Taedonggang beer, that became a YouTube hit
food + drinkAnd what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget rest of the year
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit