Howdie folks, it’s been a very quiet weekend in the world of Arsenal, with absolutely nothing happening… the FA cup was a boring affair – obviously as we weren’t involved, although there was a bit of good fortune for the likes of Pompey and Chelski – with Villa scoring very late on to force a replay with Palace. Now we’ve had an extended break, our players should all be rested and raring to take on the once great Porto.
Porto vs Arsenal Preview
So, we’ll be without Arshavin this Wednesday who will also most likely miss the Sunderland game on Saturday too. For once in the season, we actually have an alternative that can come in in place of Arshavin in Theo Walcott – although I would prefer him to play on the right as he doesn’t look that great on the left. Nasri has supposedly recovered from his knock and should start the game too.
The key to winning this double headed tie, in my opinion is the disciple which is required in the Champions League. Once of our problems this season is a lack of team discipline when playing the bigger teams – which leads to conceding quite a few goals (as shown against United, Chelsea and City)… so against Champions League teams, it’s important to have a sense of patience – because if we don’t we will be punished.
Porto are the kind of team who play with style and have match winners – but also play not to concede, they have had a good balance in recent years. If we don’t win, then it’s not the end of the world, we can score at the Emirates – but this year, I would be a tad scared if we lost, as our home form gung ho hasn’t really worked. A draw away, an away goal or a win, of course, would make the home tie much easier.
Arsene has been reflecting on the Porto game, post Liverpool.
“We know that when you go to Porto you need a solid defensive performance. I was reassured on Wednesday – that was maybe the biggest part of our game against Liverpool. We looked solid defensively for the first time in the last three big games, and that was vital before you go out for a Champions League game. I believe in the first leg our defensive performance will be important because against Manchester United and Chelsea we were 2-0 down after 20 minutes and that is massive in games. So let’s keep our defensive discipline we had against Liverpool and I am sure we can score when we play. Porto is a tough draw. They don’t look like a prestigious team but every year they are in there and they can surprise people. They have been playing very well recently.”
And I’d have to agree with Arsene – the defensive performance against Liverpool was important for the belief that we can shut teams out. The gaffer also took time to comment on Diaby’s recent performances and how he has become a very important member of the squad, showing both strength, power and an attacking verve that makes things happen – and the player has definitely changed my mind.
Eduardo should be back for the game and we’ve now got two options – Eduardo or Bendtner – just come back from an injury or just just come back from an injury – it’s tough for them obviously as they’ve lost their sharpness, but it’s tough for us too to see them miss from a yard out!
“Eduardo has shown signs in training that he is getting sharper again. It takes a long time to recover when you have been injured as he was, but he is getting stronger and stronger. It is not a worry that he does not score – I told him that, once you start to make assists, it is the same as scoring and that, for me, there is no difference. I said the same to Robin van Persie earlier in the season. Don’t forget that, at the start of the season, Robin made several assists, but did not score. The goals will come – the team gives you back what you give to the team, so it is just a question of patience.”
Well, yes, I’d agree with that, but Eduardo has had a massive amount of game time in which not to score! However, we’ve got to deal with what we have and we’ve got to get behind both the Danish and Crozilian strikers – I wouldn’t hesitate to say that they will come good soon.
We’ll look ahead to the Porto game in more detail tomorrow but I want to leave you with the craziness which has come out of the FA in regards to the league and Champions League – can you believe the idiocy that has suggested that the 4th Champions League spot becomes a play off between the four teams from 4th to 7th. For example, this season, if we do stay in the top 3, then even if Liverpool finished 10 points ahead of Man City, the four teams, Liverpool, Man City, Villa and Everton would play a knock out competition to see who gets into the CL… That’s crazy – there is every chance Bolton could sneak into 7th and then play in the Champions League?
Sky Sports commented:
“A proposal is believed to have been raised at a meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs which would see the top three progressing, with the teams finishing fourth to seventh then meeting to determine who would take the fourth spot.”
If the play off was between the winners of the FA cup and the 4th place finish, it would make more sense, but from 4th to 7th just doesn’t make sense. We’ll see what happens with this, but I really don’t think it will take off…
We take on Chelsea in the reserves tonight, which looks to be the most interesting thing in the last 4 days… come on boys, let’s show them who are kings of the reserves!!
Til tomorrow, relax and enjoy!