Today’s games went as expected. Lyon troubled Madrid while Milan didn’t have enough to keep Rooney out. Now I am hoping tomorrow’s game won’t throw up any surprises either.
We have some big names missing. Gallas, Song, Arshavin are not easy to replace. Is it a sign of over confidence or is it our strength-in-depth that makes me expect a good result at the Estadio do Dragao? Maybe a bit of both.
What is a good result, you ask. 1-0 to the Arsenal, I say.
Our past record in Portugal and away against this particular opponent is not spectacular but isn’t quite as bad as our record in, say, Russia. While Porto are well organized and hard to break down they don’t really have the ability to dominate the game against us. I will be really surprised if we don’t keep the ball for long periods.
Once again the primary threat will be from counter attacks and shots from distance. They might also try and use Hulk’s bulk on long balls and set plays. As long as we are disciplined and don’t gift any goals we will return from this fixture with one foot in the quarter-finals. I know a lot of people think taking a team lightly can be dangerous and I completely agree with that. The point is not about taking it easy but that of imposing our class.
I am looking forward to the team selection. Campbell should come in for Gallas and Rosicky for Arshavin. The important question is, who will come in for Song? I guess most of us expect Denilson to start even though some of us would prefer to see Rambo getting a run. Porto are not clinical enough in the final third and that presents the opportunity of risking/blooding a youngster like Ramsey. Diaby can sit deep and let the Welshman link with Cesc.
We might not get too many chances to score and the final result will depend on who does better when the odd chance presents itself. Lyon and Milan were awful with their finishing and might rue the missed chances in the second leg. Hopefully we won’t be in the same boat.
I think this is the perfect game for Bendtner to get on the score sheet and build some confidence. If we get a good game from the central striker it will help us in the league games as well.
Probably the only other question in team selection will be that of Eboue Vs Sagna. Wenger clearly prefers the Frenchman as the first choice but the Ivorian did really well against Liverpool. I would go with Sagna as he is a better defender and we need to compensate for the loss of Gallas and Song.
The team I would like to see is,
Fabianski; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Diaby, Cesc, Ramsey; Rosicky, Bendtner, Nasri.
I guess Le Boss will stick Denilson in but I cannot complain about it. Maybe a little moan but nothing more!