Fabregas finds new dimension to shatter Braga

London: Even if Braga had shifted the huge rock face that looms over their stadium in northern Portugal and dumped it at the Emirates, Cesc Fabregas would still have found a way to goal.

Arsenal`s Spanish midfielder produced a mesmerising performance in a 6-0 Group H victory to open their Champions League campaign, beginning the rout with a penalty, striking again after the halftime and laying on chances galore.

Braga, nicknamed the Arsenalistas, beat Celtic and Sevilla to take their place alongside Europe`s elite but the Portuguese were shattered before halftime as Fabregas conducted a show of firepower that will have resonated across the continent.

Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh helped themselves to goals and substitute Carlos Vela joined the party with a brace as Arsenal, without the injured Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie, threatened their 7-0 record home win in Europe.

They all owed a debt to the inspirational Fabregas, however, as the 23-year-old turned in a performance to rival that of Barcelona`s Lionel Messi the previous night.

The Arsenal skipper did not look like a player tempted to give up on manager Arsene Wenger`s slowly evolving project and head back to the Nou Camp where he began his career.

Arsenal`s five-year trophy drought is used as a stick to beat Wenger and given as a reason Fabregas should leave but he believes the Spaniard can achieve all he wants at Arsenal.

"I never said he didn`t have his heart here," Wenger told reporters, when asked about Fabregas`s flirtation with a move back to Barcelona. "He has moved to another dimension.”

"People forget he is 23 which is when some players are just starting. He is a fantastic influence on the team and for the young players like (Jack) Wilshere to play alongside him is a fantastic opportunity for them to learn."

Bureau Report