Match Preview: Arsenal vs Porto, Champions League Group Stage

Hull Hell”.

Anyway, let’s look forward to the game, and hope that we’ll be on the top of our game.

Arsenal v FC Porto
UEFA Champions League, Emirates Stadium
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 19:45

Team News sees the welcomed return of Samir Nasri. Of course Diaby, Eduardo and Rosicky are all out injured. Song has yet to return so it looks like we’ll have to field the only two fit central midfielders who’ve got any experience, of course, Cesc and Denilson. Even though Arsene said there would be changes, I think this is masked in the fact that Nasri is coming back, so inevitably would return to the starting XI.

As much as I’d like Ade dropped and Bendtner and Vela start, I don’t Arsene will do this. If anything, he’ll drop Van Persie and play Bendtner. I’d be in favour of this as Van Persie was very much ineffective on Saturday.

Apart from those two changes, can you really see Arsene changing much else? He should drop Gallas and play Djourou, but will he really? I sincerely doubt it.

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Sagna
Right Back
Toure
Centre Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Clichy
Left Back
 
Walcott
Right Wing
Denilson
Midfielder
Cesc
Midfielder
Nasri
Left Wing
 
  Adebayor
Striker
 Bendtner
Support Striker
 

Subs: Fabianksi, Silvestre, Djourou, Eboue, Ramsey, Vela, Van Persie.

We really do need to make amends for Saturday’s abysmal performance. Toure seems ready to make things right.

“We can’t just think about Hull. It’s true we lost and didn’t play well. But we didn’t play very well against Fulham and then we came back well in the next game when we beat Twente in the Champions League (qualifiers). For a team like Arsenal it’s always good to have a good reaction. Any team can fall down but it’s about how they react to defeat that matters. Tomorrow is a really good test and we will see if we can show another face. We are lucky we can play a match so soon after that and change everything in the minds of our fans. We want to show everyone we are still a good side. The manager, like everyone at the club, was very upset after Hull. If you want to be champions you need to win every game, especially when you play at home. We didn’t perform well. We’re professional and we know that when we play for Arsenal we can’t afford to lose like that. The manager didn’t have to say anything to us but he still had a few words. Every player was very sad and disappointed.”

Damn right. You play for Arsenal. You cannot afford to lose like that.

Jesualdo Ferreira, the Porto coach says he doesn’t need to worry about a backlash from us and also isn’t going to change his tactics.

“In the Champions League teams always play differently. Arsenal use different tactics to the ones they use in the Premier League. Arsenal losing at the weekend will not have an effect on Tuesday night. If Arsenal conceded a goal from the set-piece against Hull it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t suddenly become something we look at.”

On reflecting on the game between the two sides 2 years ago, Ferreira said:

“There have been many changes since then. Arsenal have big players still but only Thierry Henry is missing who was there.  Most of their players are bigger, older, better and more experienced. Porto weren’t able to keep up with Arsenal in that game but we were able to qualify from the group. Now we have different players, some left and some have come. At the moment the only thing we can say is that Arsenal have more experience and that could affect the outcome.”

And in the other game, Fenerbahce take on Dynamo Kiev and a draw would probably be the best result.

I’ll be at the game tonight, and despite the result on Saturday, I am still very excited and really can’t wait…

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[I agree with dropping Gallas, but I don't think the club will want to be seen dropping the Captain.

    Also, I think your right - RVP will hit the bench which will be wrong for two reasons. 1 - He had a few shots on Saturday and was unlucky to not see one come off. He looked the most dangerous out of himself and Ade and he looked hungry. Ade never looks hungry, not even when he's scored two and is looking for a hat-trick. 2 - Bendtner and Ade are just too similar to play together, and whilst they sometimes link well I can't see it being as dynamic as RVP/Bendtner could be.

    Personally I'd love to see Wenger give Vela a break. Tell him if he scores tonight he'll start every match until he fails to net. What more incentive could you give a young hungry striker?

    I know it was against lowly opposition, but Vela looked the real deal against SU in the Carless Cup and so far looks like the only forward player we've got that convert more than 1 in 10 chances.]]>

  • Gala

    Come on Gunners! Treat us to a lovely win tonight-

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7642760.stm Jimmy

    Come on lads

  • JDD

    djourou should come in along with wilshere or merida

  • devday

    Come on you reds!!! I’m off to the game, wish me luck!

  • http://deleted Dan

    I don’t see why Merida deserves to start at all? Wilshere would be interesting in place of walcott though.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    Massive changes he made! :D

  • Jimmy

    < ![CDATA[Early in 2007 the story was going around that Flamini (who we signed from Marseille in 2004) was fed up with the lack of starting opportunities he had at Arsenal. He was played in a lot of games, but mostly as a substitute.

    Flamini didn’t leave at the end of 2006/7 of course, and went on to start in most games in 2007/8 - so he got what he wanted. Arsenal also played in the Euro Cup that season, and got into it again for 2008/9, as we all know.

    Flamini then left, as we all also know. He left for a team that did not qualify for the Champions League. Which looked a bit odd.

    Now we find he has left for a team that doesn’t include him in the starting line up either. He’s back to coming on as a substitute.

    So there he was. Virtually guaranteed a place in the Arsenal starting XI. On the edge of creating one of the great EPL partnerships with Fabregas. Playing in the top competition. And he gives it all up to be a substitute, and play against the likes of the Tiny Totts in the Diddly Cup.

    For some people the word “prat” seems just a perfect description. One might almost start beliving that all the chat on this web site about their being a “Curse of Arsenal” might perhaps, actually be true. Poor old Hleb out injured. That Mr Henry being kept out of the BarBarBarca-Sheep team by Eto’o and when he does play, being played on the wing. Mr Flamini not in the Euro Cup and not even in the team most of the time.

    It is enough to make you cry your heart out.

    Or not, as the case might be.]]>

  • http://deleted Dan

    I didn’t know Flamster wasn’t starting. Thats pretty funny! :D i don’t feel for him at all. He took the piss out of the club treating us the way he did, after we were so patient and good to him. Moron!

  • Jimmy

    < ![CDATA[I read a comment he made in the Sun yesterday and there he was banging on about Arsenal again. This time he had a dig at the Gooners. However, for once I found myself agreeing with him.

    "AS much as I love Arsenal, I’m giving a big thumbs-down to some of the club’s fans.
    I could not believe the amount of empty seats for the remaining five minutes of Arsenal v Hull on Saturday.
    They were trailing 2-1 and battering their opponents in what proved to be a fruitless attempt for a late equaliser. Football does not get a lot more exciting than this. The match was a cracker.
    Yet for many locals, getting an early tube or train was the priority. Surely, this was the moment Arsenal’s players needed their fans most.
    One day after 85 minutes, I’d like to see the Emirates more than two-thirds full."

    I can understand why some fans leave early. It is murder trying to get away from the Emirates and if you don't leave early you can be stuck there for ages.

    I didn't leave early because I felt that we could still go on to win. Although the side were letting us down losing at home to Hull, they still needed our support right to the very end.

    Imagine you are on the pitch and you are chasing the game, you look around and see the ground rapidly losing numbers. I can imagine it would be disheartening.

    Had this game been against Manchester United no-one would have left so just because it was against Hull it shouldn't have mattered. People should have stayed.

    We have a poor reputation amongst other fans, frankly they can go fuck themselves for all I care. I know that when the Emirates gets buzzing it produces a top atmosphere.

    I agree with Ian Wright. Lets stay till the end and get the ground rocking.

    What do you think? Is Ian Wright right or wrong?]]>