Porto vs Arsenal, The Actual Preview

The “FA cup not in it” lull has come to an end and tomorrow we take on the mighty Porto at the Estadio do Dragao. It is going to be a cagey encounter, where we know a win or a draw will put us in good stead for the home game two weeks today…

Team news ahead of the game tomorrow is that we’ve got quite a few absentees… Gallas is out with a calf injury that will see him miss tomorrow’s game, but apparently he will be back for the weekend. Arsene has talked about him being on the edge of getting injured and that it’s lucky that he hasn’t, so this little niggle should be expected. It’s reassuring to have Sol Campbell able to come in and replace him rather than Mikael Silvestre – even though Campbell is older than the Frenchman and has probably made a lot more “errors of judgement”, I’d still prefer him at the back rather than Silvestre.

Eduardo was thought to be back for this game, but unfortunately, he’s also out – the good news is that Carlos Vela returns, so at least we have a striking option alternative to Niklas Bendtner. Alex Song hasn’t recovered from his knee injury yet, and as we knew before, Andrei Arshavin is out for a couple of weeks. The interesting news outside of that is that Matty Almunia is out with a “finger injury” and Arsene recently admitted that Almunia had recently been playing with a twisted finger – which I find very very strange – how on earth can a keeper play with an injury to a finger… here’s what Arsene said:

“Manuel Almunia has a finger injury, and the hand is quite useful for goalkeepers. He had already a twisted finger and he made it worse and I didn’t want to take a gamble on it. Eduardo has a recurrence of his hamstring injury.”

Maybe the whole Stoke, Villa, Untied, Chelsea, Liverpool was too important or tense for Arsene to switch keepers, and now it’s over, we can “ease” Fabianski back into first team action… interestingly, some papers have reported that Eduardo hasn’t recovered from his injury in time, but will be back for Saturday, but quite clearly here, Arsene has cited a recurrence of the injury, meaning he’ll probably be out for much longer…

So, let’s look at the line up – the first 8 picks itself I think (back 5 and three in the middle) and it’s the wingers that we’re all not sure about….

Fabianski

Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy

Diaby – Denilson

The front four could be:

Walcott – Cesc – Nasri

Bendtner

or

Eboue – Cesc – Rosicky

Bendtner

or

Nasri – Cesc – Rosicky

Bendtner

I think Arsene will play either Walcott or Eboue and Rosicky or Nasri – one with guile and one with pace. Goonerman from the comments seems to think it will be the middle one (Eboue and Rosicky), but with Nasri on such good form and with Walcott in need of games, I’d be more inclined to go with the first option. The bench will most likely be (if option 1 is chosen): Mannone, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Ramsey, Rosicky and Vela. Your thoughts on the team selection duly welcome!

A few videos to finish off with, first the Inspired by Zidane post that been making the rounds…

Inspired by “Zidane – A 21st Century Portrait”, A Night At The Emirates is a unique and immersive documentary. Shot with a single camera on the 10th February 2010 during the game against Liverpool, the film is about the Arsenal matchday experience from the perspective of the fans.

And finally, I want to get you into South Africa spirit and World Cup frenzy… check out the new Akon video:

Adios for now…

  • JDD

    i think wenger should use the formation we used in away games when we got to the final in 2005 4-5-1 which can easilt turn into 4-3-3

    Mannone
    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy
    Eboue Diaby Denilson Fabregas Nasri
    Bendtner

    Fabianski Silvestre Traore Ramsey Rosicky Vela Walcott

  • goonerman

    cheers for the shout out in that post devday lol! to be honest i wouldnt mind seeing either of the first 2 lineups but the 3rd is surely no no i just dont like nasri and rosicky playing as the two wingers it gives us no pace or penetration and that is when we get stuck and just pass around the box so hopefully we will see walcott or eboue! milan gave man u a close run in the end and stoke got cheated out of a win! and them cocky muppets madrid got embaressed by lyon HAHA!

  • tm17

    Does anyone know why only half of the fixture are played
    this week and half next week
    and also why our next match against porto is nearly a month after the first one??????/

  • Sam

    Since we are missing 2 important defensive players in Gallas & Song, and since a clean sheet is more important than scoring in this game, AW will probably go for option 3 (Nasri & Rosicky) to maximise possession.

    @ Tm17 – been wondering the same. One reason is that both Milan teams use San Siro and the pitch can’t take 2 games in 2 days. But that doesn’t explain other games! Is our return Porto game really a month later??

  • Tm17

    Not a month later but about 3 weeks
    the 9th of march I think
    Maybe they just realised that they can show
    more matchs if they are spread out???

  • Kuka

    …I watched the Milan v United game. If you think Almunia is a terrible keeper, then Dida is total rubbish….Goodness, he is really bad. Almunia should feel encouraged.

  • Arsefan101

    LOL, Kuka, yeah Dida is totally rubbish!

    There is such a lack of good goalkeepers in world football at the moment – suprised Akinfeev hasn’t joined a top team yet!

  • devday

    Out of all our goalkeepers, Mannone looks like the most commanding, but there is a fair way for him to go yet… Almunia is probably our best keeper out of the lot (just by experience), but Fabianski and Mannone could take over by next season if they both get a run of games…!! They both have more potential than Almunia – maybe it’s because Almunia doesn’t get any international experience, he always falters in big games… who knows!!

  • devday

    @TM17 – You’re right, that’s a long gap – I think it’s because of the games in London (Chelsea, Arsenal etc) and the games in Milan (Inter, AC) mixed in with cup and league commitments – means we have a massive gap in between!

  • devday

    Arsene on Bendtner:

    “He can prove me right!” declared the Frenchman.

    “I believe he is a boy who has a big potential. He arrived at the age of 15 and we work very hard with these players to get them to a level where they are today.

    “Of course, we do not believe in a player for four or five years and then suddenly stop because people say you should buy a striker. We have a line of c

  • Nick

    Come on guys Dida is still recovering from that “attack” he suffered from the Celtic supporter a few years ago, lol.

    I think option 3 is the best bet (Nasri, Cesc, Rosciky). I hope we don’t go in the 0-0 mindset that escaping without giving up a goal is best. I want to see a 2-0 lead for Arsenal then slow it down.

  • http://worldofarsenal Josiah

    come on arsenal tonight.

  • goonerman

    i think they have spread the games out just for the reason that a lot more people will see the big games becuase normally people would have to pic between arsenal and man united and that is just stupid! i really hope bendtner does come good and shows us what he can do! anyone see vieria’s dirty stamp to the balls i know hes a legend and all but that was pretty dirty!

  • Arsefan101

    I have a feeling Bendtner will score

  • Arsefan101

    PS, Happy 2 years to WOA – great reading every day!

  • Tony Gahan

    At least with Big Sol back *hopefully* he can get vocal and help marshal the defence and give some direction to our right and left fullbacks. Clichy especially needs to start lifting his defensive game even if it means less runs forward… We are so exposed from these and have gotten stung so many times from pointless attacks from the wing whipping in useless crosses that get smothered and turned into a quick counter attack.

    I’m looking forward to seeing Bendtner back as I think he offers a fair bit up front not only just as a big body to hold up the play but as someone who chases down balls at the front and creating movement by moving the opposing back-line about. He also has a good eye for a pass and links well with Fabregas allowing him to get forward and put in a strike.

    Either way looking forward to it! Love it!

  • devday

    I’m not too worried about Sol, I think he has worked really hard and is actually more focused then when he left us. I am worried about Clichy – but more because no one helps the left back – it’s a problem all season.

    Arshavin / Walcott never gets back to help Clichy and the only players that do are Nasri / Rosicky – but often they find themselves too infield…!

  • devday

    @Arsenfan101 – Thanks for the birthday wishes – I can’t believe WOA has been around for over 2 years now – also, I have a feeling Bendtner will score too!

  • Sam

    I think the European game fits B52 better, and this may be a perfect opportunity for him to get into the scoring groove.

    BTW, happy birthday WOA!

  • Arsefan101

    @devday – Sky Sports predicted lineup is Nasri and Rosicky on the wings – it’s the first time I think I want Eboue to start ahead of Rosicky lol

  • devday

    I have a feeling Arsene will go with Eboue and Nasri – don’t know why – but it just makes sense!!