Five-star Arsenal slam Fener
Arsenal produced a counter-attacking masterclass to shatter Fenerbahce's long unbeaten home record with a 5-2 victory in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
The Gunners made a mockery of the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium's intimidating reputation as they handed Fenerbahce their first European home defeat for nearly three years.
It was 15 matches since Fenerbahce had last been beaten in front of their fiercely-passionate fans and Inter Milan and Chelsea were among the illustrious names dispatched in the Turkish capital last season.
But Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott put Arsene Wenger's side in control with two goals in a minute early in the first half. Mikael Silvestre's own goal reduced the deficit, but Abou Diaby and Alexandre Song made 4-1.
Daniel Guiza's late strike was no consolation for Fenerbahce as Aaron Ramsey completed the rout in stoppage time.
The win keeps Arsenal top of Group G with seven points and firmly on course for the second round, while Fenerbahce are on the brink of elimination.
"It was a good game because Fenerbahce were dangerous as well and Almunia (goalkeeper) had a great game," Wenger said. "He saved a few one-on-ones. Overall I believe our ability, pace and technique was superior and that made a big difference.
"We had a very young team. They were an average of 22 years old and it was good to see."
"It's a difficult place to come to because the fans get behind them, but everyone got their jobs right and it's just a brilliant performance," Walcott added. "Everyone is just flying. We are playing brilliant football and scoring plenty of goals from all sorts of positions.
"We got people coming off the bench and scoring. It just shows how strong our squad is."
Injuries to William Gallas, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna deprived Wenger of three of his regular back-four and the Arsenal manager decided to use a five-man midfield with the aim of soaking up Fenerbahce's pressure before hitting them on the break. His plan worked to perfection.
Fenerbahce started brightly and it took a fine block from Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia to deny Ugur Boral. But, with the hosts committing men forward, Arsenal were perfectly placed to silence the raucous Fenerbahce faithful.
In the 10th minute, Cesc Fabregas slipped a clever pass through to Adebayor, who beat the offside trap and narrowly avoided running into Walcott before slipping his shot past Volkan Demirel.
Fernerbahce were stunned by that sucker punch and Arsenal rammed home the advantage a minute later. Once again it was Arsenal's pace on the counter that did the damage.
Fabregas's pass picked out Walcott and the England winger surged clear of the defence, rounded Demirel and finished from close range.
Samir Nasri should have completely killed the tie moments later, but the France midfielder's shot was pushed away by Demirel.
Fenerbahce had to find a immediate response to have any chance of staying in the competition and they did just that in the 19th minute.
Arsenal weakness exposed
Not for the first time this season, Arsenal's weakness at set-pieces was exposed as Alex's free-kick reached Guiza and the Fenerbahce striker's volley was turned into his own net by Silvestre.
But Arsenal were picking apart Luis Aragones's side whenever they went forward and Diaby restored their two-goal lead with a superb strike in the 22nd minute.
Aided by woeful defending, Diaby's strength and skill allowed him to work space for a low shot that nestled in the far corner of Demirel's net.
Guiza had a goal disallowed for offside, then wasted two chances just before half-time. He shot wide after outsprinting the Arsenal defence, then allowed Almunia to smother another effort.
Wenger could have been forgiven for telling his players to sit on their lead, but they continued to launch lightning raids after the break.
Nasri won a free-kick from another incisive incursion in the 49th minute and the fourth goal followed. Fenerbahce failed to deal with Fabregas's floated free-kick and Song was on hand to lash home his first European goal for the Gunners.
Fenerbahce got a goal back in the 78th minute when Guiza timed his run perfectly and deftly chipped over Almunia.
There was still time for Welsh teenager Ramsey to come off the bench and lash in the fifth from the edge of the penalty area in the 94th minute.