Arsenal V Porto: A Good Chance To Make History

I am not sure if I should be confident about this game or be worried. Till I read the reports today I was quite sure we will get through to the next round without any problems.

Porto’s away record in general and their history with English teams is in our favor. The performance I saw at the Estadio Do Dragao left me convinced the game at the Emirates will be a cakewalk. Our players have shown great spirit in the recent games and some of them are in great form. Normally, these many positives would be enough, but there is something that’s worrying me.

Injuries are obviously a concern. Our history in Europe is another. I guess the biggest concern is the goals we have been gifting this season. The away goals rule can kill us if we have a couple of goof-ups or Porto manage to score a freak goal.

Tactics

We need to control the pace of this game. In Portugal it was too frantic and we were exposed at the back quite often. The visitors might not be as clinical as some of the top European sides but it’s just not worth the risk.

Lack of patience has been a problem for us in the past, especially in the big games. I’m hoping the players have learnt from the past and know what needs to be done. Since we are missing Cesc and Arshavin might not play the full game, we will definitely need to wait for the right chance.

Porto will look to play on the counter and speed will be their biggest asset. We have to ensure that Campbell is not left on his own holding a high line. It might be worthwhile asking one of the full backs to hold back and help out in defense.

Trivia

  • Arsenal haven’t won a two legged European tie after losing the first leg for 32 years. It is certainly a good chance to make history
  • Porto have lost on all six visits to London.

Team Thoughts

Song will come in for Denilson, Campbell should come in for Silvestre, and Diaby for Cesc. We might see Sagna replacing Eboue, although the Ivorian certainly deserves to keep his place after his recent performances.

I believe this game is perfect for Nasri to stamp his class in central midfield. Walcott needs to show that he can be consistent while Bendtner cannot afford a repeat of his last outing.

I also get a feeling that Almunia will have to make a couple of important saves in this one.

I think the starting eleven will look like,

Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Song, Nasri, Diaby; Walcott, Bendtner, Arshavin.

Rosicky could come in for the Russian around the hour mark. He might even start if the Russian isn’t fully match fit.

Bottom-line

In the pre-match press conference Arsene said,

It will be an amazing achievement if we get through.

He was talking in the context of the injuries we have to the spine of the team (Gallas, Cesc, Van Persie). I find this a little unnerving. We have to look forward to qualification with a lot of confidence and not as an amazing achievement.

14 Responses to Arsenal V Porto: A Good Chance To Make History

  1. Aussie Jack says:

    Anyone would think we`ve lost ten men not one. This is the kind of game where hero`s are made and I expect there to be one, maybe two. I`d like to see Rosicky out there he relishes these kind of challenges and don`t be surprised if Walcott doesn`t take them apart.
    I`ve set my clock for 6.30am and I must remember to take my tablets first.

    • desigunner says:

      Walcott might not be as lethal as he was against burnley but I do expect a good game from him, in the sense that he shouldn’t be running around without any control over the ball and should put in some decent crosses.

  2. munala says:

    wow, history is krazie. 32 years one match = we gotta put things straight. Patience is key n everyone has 2 up hos game. Arshavin n whoever plays upfront nid 2 be clinical. Ope bendtner can make amends 4 last weekend.

  3. Nischit says:

    I’m getting out early from class just to watch this, or I might watch the first half from my class..lol. Arsene might just be trying to lift some pressure of the squad with those comments. Luckily I haven’t clipped my nails in 2 weeks and I just got my hair cut really short so I cant grip it!! Why do I get the heebie jeebies for this one?

    • desigunner says:

      :D

      These days my nails and hair are generally safe. The only worry is that my footwear could smash the tv.

      Wenger does have a way of downplaying some things … he will also want to use this “achievement” later to boost the morale.

  4. Emmy says:

    I expect sagna and walcot to start game, the ivorian Eboue should start in the half mark,so that the game will balance. We need Arshavin to also start ahead of rosicky,Nasri should be in central midfield,campbell and verminator should stay,because porto has pace than us. UP GUNNERS,LET’S DO IT FOR RAMBO AGAIN.

  5. Olurombi Bamidele,Lagos Nigeria says:

    Up Gunners,definately history will b made 2day cos we sing a gud song 2day after d match and i know prof knows what he’s talking about achievement

  6. critic says:

    he sometimes behaves as fool…although i seriously doubt arsenal can go through…they are bound to give one away goal and then i don’t think so they can score 3 when porto will form the team bus….tie going in extra time and campbell will become really tired….silvestre prone to make mistake….hopefully iam wrong…but i think this is last nite in cl this season for arsenal…

    • aniruddh says:

      you’ve aptly named yourself
      I feel that if you think that wenger doesn’t have any PR skills then you’re grossly mistaken

  7. aniruddh says:

    But wenger generally plays down our chances in any game and is also quick to dismiss any comment that might state us as the clear favorites. how about song in defense and diaby in a DM role?

    • desigunner says:

      I feel Song does so much in midfield that putting him in defence would be under utilization of his talents. Central defence doesn’t need that much work, more about judgement and skill. Campbell should be ok as long as he isn’t caught in a one on one with a striker.

      • Aniruddh says:

        Song as a ball playing centre back can be as effective as he is in midfield but he needs to improve in certain aspects of his game(even in his role as a def mid) like getting caught in possession and mulling over the ball for centuries. I feel that although song may have taken huge leaps in the course of the last year and a half, he cannot rest upon his laurels as there’s always someone making the grade(Nordtveit, Eastmond, Coquelin, etc) and he could find his position( currently untouchable) challenged before long

  8. bobbygee says:

    Nasri and the rest need to step up big time and win. Attack and play solid “D”. You are right control the tem[po. The team that dicates the tempo will win. We will win 2-0. On to the next round. http://defutebol.net

    • Aniruddh says:

      I think our team has the required quality to see off Porto safely
      Lets all hope that theres no howler from one of our players

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