There has been much debate about the fans response to Eboue's performance and tomorrow the Ivorian will have a chance to win back the fans with an outstanding display and a few goals (not own goals) against a Porto side looking to finish top of the group.
Injuries news has been pouring in today. We're of course, without Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott and Nasri. Four attacking players who'd add so much to our team, but four attacking players who seem to be in the wars a lot.
In addition, Gael Clichy has pulled a hamstring and Cesc Fabregas has got a bit of knee trouble - nothing that a squeeze of WD40 couldn't cure. Kolo Toure has had a recurrence of his calf injury that kept him out of the side for a while, whilst Robin Van Persie has got a thigh strain. Adebayor needs rest as he's not yet recovered from the International travel for his recent country match.
As a result, it's a reprieve for some of the Carling Cup regulars as well as a re-introduction to the squad for William Gallas and injury-prone French midfielder, Abou Diaby.
The squad has recently been announced and some of the following players will be chosen to play tomorrow:
1. Manuel Almunia
21. Lukasz Fabianski
10. William Gallas
18. Mikael Silvestre
40. Kieran Gibbs
41. Gavin Hoyte
27. Emmanuel Eboue
20. Johan Djourou
17. Alex Song
16. Aaron Ramsey
47. Mark Randall
2. Abou Diaby
43. Fran Merida
19. Jack Wilshere
26. Nicklas Bendtner
12. Carlos Vela
50. Jay Simpson
This team includes Randall, Ramsey, Merida, Wilshere, Simpson and Gibbs, so it’s going to be a tough one.
So out of these players, who do we think will start against Porto. Well, here goes…
So, it looks like we may be playing 4 central midfielders across the middle. We should have learnt from Stoke that perhaps this isn’t the greatest idea. Yes, we could play Vela and Wilshere on either side of Diaby and Song and Simpson up front with Bendtner and of course we could go 4-5-1 which would see Vela play on the left anyway!
We’ll probably hear more team news from Arsene tomorrow, but for tonight, I’ll leave you with a few words from the gaffer himself:
“They have lost many good players. You see today with some players who made a career – like Deco – that they had exceptional players. They are always the reference team in Portugal because they win the championship every year and have always a very good policy of selling and buying. They could combine the two very well. You have today a player like Anderson at Man United – he played at Porto – and Deco at Chelsea – he played at Porto. They have always had very good players. And yet still again, they qualified in a very difficult group because with Fenerbahce, Dynamo Kyiv and us, it’s not easy for a team like Porto to get out but they got out of the group again.”
“It is difficult to say [if finishing first will be important] but would we not feel guilty if we had a massive draw in the last 16? We would have not done something when we know it can punish us. We want to finish first because we want to be the best. But it does not seem that first or second will make a huge difference this year. I want to combine both. I want to protect the team for the 12.45pm kick-off at Middlesbrough but as well finish the job in the Champions League and not lose at Porto.”