Match Preview: Porto vs Arsenal – Injuries mount up as reserve side flies out

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
15. Denilson
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…

Almunia
Goalkeeper
 
Hoyte
Right Back
Gallas
Centre Back
Djourou
Centre Back
Gibbs
Left Back
 
Denilson
Right Wing
Song
Midfielder
Diaby
Midfielder
Ramsey
Left Wing
 
  Bendtner
Striker
 Vela
Support Striker

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.”

Til tomorrow…

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  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[I THINK IT SHOULD BE ALMUNIA-GIBBS-DJOUROU-GALLAS-HOYTE-WILSHERE-SONG-MERIDA-WILSHERE-VELA-SIMPSON
    I KNOW IT IS A RELATIVELY YOUNG SIDE BUT THESE PLAYERS NEED THESE KIND OF EXPERIENCES AND KNOWADAYS 1ST AND 2ND PALCE DOESN'T REALLY HELP YOU WITH THE DRAW FOR THE NEXT ROUND IF WE COME TOP WE COULD GET REAL MADRID OR BAYERN MUNICH IF WE COME SECOND WE COULD GET LYON OR JUVENTUS NOT REALLY MUCH DIFFERENCE
    ALSO I WONDER IF GALLAS WILL BE CAPTAIN DUE TO FABREGAS BEING INJURY]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[I PUT WILSHERE IN TWICE LOL
    IT SHOULD BE EBOUE ON THE RIGHT OF MIDFIELD]]>

  • devday

    I think Almunia will be captain… and EBoue, you’re right – reports are that he will start tomorrow.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Am torn bw doing my school assignment and watching this match. I hope this match will worth the sacrifice.

    I want us to go clear tommorrow to avoid any big team. I do know in Feb it will be a different story as regards to form.]]>

  • ny

    < ![CDATA[my team prediction is

    --------------- Almunia-------------------
    --Hoyte - Djouru - Gallas - Silvestre--
    --Eboue - Denilson - Song - Diaby---
    -----------Vela -- Bendtner-------------

    ------------------------------------------------------------------]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[wenger's mentioned that we'r looking to not lose the match. i think we'll be a bit defensive. i think we'll have a solid defence as opposed to youth in hoyte and gibbs. in the midfield however, we only have youths, any of which could line up in various positions, so i'm not gona bother speculating. the formation might be a 4-5-1 to begin with. maybe that means vela's on the bench. or maybe he plays out wide in the starting 11.

    defensively my hunch is that we'll look like this.

    almunia
    eboue gallas djourou silvestre]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[I'd expect to see your line up above but with the following midfield:
    Eboue - Ramsey - Denilson -Diaby

    I think Ramsey/Song/Denilson are pretty interchangeable. Diaby is very right footed but has played on the left before without looking to out of place, despite taking 90% of his touches on his right foot.

    Tevez would be a good signing but I can't see Wenger touching any sort of third party deal and he would definately not pay 30m for any player.

    Would be nice to finish top but looking at the draw there's not much in it. The only teams we'd really want to avoid are the english ones who we can't draw and then Barca who topped their group.]]>