A Quiet Weekend… Let’s talk Porto…

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!

  • Fo

    It has been the most boring footballing weekend ever!
    Need Wednesday to happen tomorrow….!

    Is Alex Song out of the game tomorrow?

  • devday

    Apparently Song is on the plane at the moment, so that’s good news… awaiting confirmation. Arsh definitely out of the squad.

  • goonerman

    i suppose wenger would even take song if there was half a chance he could get fit for the game ay?? but to be fair we are going to have to give denilson a chance to show us his stinker of a game v man united was a one off he is still a good player and he normally plays the midfield role well so im not to worried about that and surely if song aint 100% fit we would rather see him rested for sunderland!

  • Fo

    Feeling that Song will start on bench with Denilson in the first XI against Porto

    Sagna in for Ebooue – Rosicky for Nasri

  • ny

    @devday – FA cup winner can be a championship team and they cannot play for a CL spot.But I agree that it is not a good proposal as we are the more likely team to get affected(not this season).:-)

    Also Arsene has advised RVP and Eduardo about the assists and he should repeat that to Arshavin now.

  • Nick

    Definitely wish we had Arshavin for the Porto game, but I also think he needs a rest. He’s been a warrior for us this season.

    Hopefully Denilson will give us a better showing than his last few games.

    Walcott I’m looking for to have a great game.

    Eduardo is definitely in the same spot that RVP was at the beginning of the campaign. He just needs to keep playing and getting back to his true form. As does Bendtner.

    Are we finally gonna see Sol subbed in? I think we’ll need to have a comfortable 2 goal lead and he may come on with ~10-15 minutes left to play.

  • devday

    Who would you start tomorrow – Eduardo or Bendtner? It’s a tough one!

  • goonerman

    definatley go for bendtner ahead of eduardo! bendtner at least got some playing time under his belt! to be honest i just cant wait for tonights game ac milan v man united its just a quality game of football! i know arshavin has his website and stuff but when he says things like he has today it just annoys me a little he said he would understand if cesc left for barca in the summer! ARE YOU MENTAL ARSHAVIN just do what you do in your celebrations and SHHHHHHH

  • Nick

    Gotta go with Bendtner over Eduardo. He seems like he’s on the verge of breaking it wide open, just needs that first goal. Eduardo seems like he’s thinking too much and over complicating things.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I would play B52 down the middle and Nasri left and Walcott right then after 60+ minutes (if we are winning) bring on Eduardo for B52 and swap Walcott for Rosicky and stay with 4-3-3, (If we are losing) Bring Eduardo on for Nasri and Rosicky on for Walcott and play 4-1-2-3 (Denilson being the 1 and diaby & cesc the 2, with Dudu, B52 and Rosicky the 3).

  • Kuka

    I still need to understand this whole injury business. Is it fair to start discussing the nature of our injuries. I am tempted not to compare with other clubs, but one finds themselves wondering whether its got to do with the “kind” of players we have, the medical team, physical-fitness management team at the club. I do understand the argument about luck and being unlucky with injuries, but doesn’t it raise questions that our players are basically injured every day. That on average, we loose a player after each game. Note, 20 other teams play in the same league – and some of these 20 teams play more games than we do (FA, Carling cup etc etc).

    Basically, our full first team is injury prone (except Varmalleen). That cannot be good for team seeking to win the league or trophies for that matter….I just read on Arsenal.com, and was shocked to find that we are without 5 first team players…..SURELY??? I need help…I need to understand this. And please don’t give me the “luck” argument, cos that one I have well covered

  • vj

    my team for tommorow night
    Mannone
    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
    Diaby Fabregas denilson
    nasri bendtner rosicky

    I dont think it worth risking vela now that eduardo is out, walcott is still lacking fitness, rosicky has been really good since he came back, 3 goals a couple assists, maybe play walcott for nasri, wenger might be more defensive and play eboue as well instead of nasri or rosicky and have 4-1-3-1-1

  • Will Scott

    Almunia, Gallas, Eduardo, Song and Arshavin all out of the game.

    I’d expect the following line up:
    Fabianski
    Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Diaby – Denilson – Cesc
    Walcott – Bendtner – Nasri

    Subs: Mannone, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Vela, Ramsey, Rosicky

  • Nick

    Kuka, don’t think too deeply on it. It’s a mixture of bad luck and the fact that in order for all the teams to play against Arsenal they have to to tackle hard and often in order to get the ball and disrupt our game. Especially big 4 matches.

  • goonerman

    i totally agree with Nick we do just have and have always had rotten luck with injuries and it is a fact that with all our flair players they get chopped a hell of a lot more than player that play for a team like stoke or birmingham becuase they are the physically tough players doing the challenges its a price we pay for beautiful football lol!

    so the injury list is far worse than anyone expected but obviously we want the team fit for the weekend the champions league aint all that matters!! hope campbell can handle their striker but you know he will play his heart out as hes got a point to prove. my team is different to most but im ptrobably just a muppet lol

    ————–Fabianski—————
    Sagna—-Campbell—Vermaelen—–Clichy
    ——–Denilson—-Diaby——–
    —-eboue——-Cesc———–Rosicky
    ————-Bendtner———

    i really like eboue hes an experienced player who can handle pressure and hes been pretty impressive this season!

  • vj

    thats not a bad bet goonerman eboue has pace and can cross and also obviously is goo defensively so we may well see eboue starting tommorow night