On this day: Arsenal hit seven against Slavia Prague

On this day in 2007, Arsenal edged closer to qualification for the Champions League knockout stages with a 7-0 thrashing of Slavia Prague.

After they had ended the previous campaign in third place and as many as 21 points off Premier League champions Manchester United, Arsenal were fastest out of the traps at the start of the 2007-08 campaign with eight victories from their opening nine league matches.

The Gunners had also registered back-to-back wins in the Champions League against Sevilla and Steaua Bucuresti to take charge of Group H, and expectations were high when Arsene Wenger's men played host to Slavia Prague at the Emirates Stadium as they attempted to all but secure their passage to the knockout stages with half of the group remaining.

A young Theo Walcott was given a place in Arsenal's starting lineup, partnering Emmanuel Adebayor in attack, but it was the combination of Alexander Hleb and Cesc Fabregas that got the rout underway in North London. After Hleb had teased the Slavia full-back on the touchline, he played in the advancing Fabregas to curl a delightful effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner.

Arsenal had quickly found top gear, but Slavia almost found an unlikely equaliser after the quarter-hour mark when David Kalivoda's strike narrowly cleared the crossbar. However, that proved to be a minor scare for the English outfit, who quickly moved up the other end of the pitch to double their advantage.

Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates his second goal and Arsenal's fifth during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Arsenal and Slavia Prague on October 23, 2007© Getty Images

A corner was only half cleared to Hleb, who was waiting on the left-hand side of the penalty, with his first-time drive being deflected into his own net by David Hubacek to leave the Czech club staring at a heavy defeat, and their plight worsened before the break as a rampant Gunners made it three.

Moments after Adebayor had seen a header smartly stopped by Martin Vaniak, a unnecessary back-pass was latched on to by Walcott, who kept his composure under the pressure of two defenders and Vaniak before hitting the ball into an unguarded net from 20 yards for his first European goal.

When the second half began, it was a question of how many would Arsenal score rather than would Slavia be able to find a way back into the contest, and just six minutes into the second half, Hleb put the result beyond any doubt when accelerating into the penalty area before wrong-footing Vaniak with a composed finish from 10 yards out.

Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal shoots to score his second goal and Arsenal's sixth during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Arsenal and Slavia Prague on October 23, 2007© Getty Images

That addition to the scoresheet sparked two more goals in the space of seven minutes. A neat passage of play in Arsenal's midfield release Walcott down the left flank and he displayed no sign of nerves in calmly slotting home his second of the night from eight yards. The youngster then combined with Adebayor to tee up Fabregas to provide the finish for Arsenal's sixth with the possibility of double figures becoming more realistic.

However, after Wenger opted to make sweeping changes to his team to rest players ahead of their trip to Liverpool the following weekend, Arsenal lost some of their fluidity which saw fewer opportunities created in the final third, but substitute Tomas Rosicky did hit the crossbar following a excellent stop from Vaniak to deny Walcott his hat-trick.

The seventh goal did arrive with a minute left of a one-sided match as Nicklas Bendtner prodded home from close range after combining with Emmanuel Eboue to take Arsenal's record in all competitions to 14 wins and a draw from 15 games.

The margin of victory matched a Champions League record held by Juventus after their demolition of Olympiacos in 2003, but despite the nature of this success, Arsenal dropped four points in their next two fixtures to finish runners-up to Sevilla before losing to Liverpool at the quarter-final stage.

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5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
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