Arsenal v Porto – Match Preview

Well the big day is here, Arsenal v Porto for a place in the Champions League quarter finals.

It’s a massive game for Arsenal – win and we’ll be in the draw for the last 8,  with a good chance of going further in the competition. Lose, and we’ll only have to the Premiership to go for and people will be saying we’re not the team we think we are.

Team news is that from the weekends squad it’s two in one out, with Campbell available again after injury and Song available after missing the Burnley game due to suspension. Vela may also be free to play after being left out of the weekend game because of jet lag. Wenger confirmed yesterday that Cesc would not be ready to play, which is of course a huge miss. We do have players who can cover though, namely Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby.

I’d expect to see Bendtner lead the line for us tonight, despite the outrageous amount of chances he spurned on Saturday, with Walcott and Rosicky either side. I’ve gone with Rosicky over Arshavin simply because of the fact that Arshavin’s been out for the past few games with injury and although he scored a cracker against Burnley, we need every player to be at 100% tonight.

With this news, here’s my prediction for tonight’s line up:

Almunia

Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy

Diaby – Song – Nasri

Walcott – Bendtner – Rosicky

That XI should be good enough to get past Porto at home. The back four looks solid, and with Song in front of them, they should be largely untroubled. Nasri is a great replacement for Cesc in midfield and as we saw on Saturday, has the ability to provide that little bit of spark. Up front, both Walcott and Rosicky have pace and trickery which should cause the Porto full backs a few problems, particularly if they’re bombing forward like in the first leg.  With players like Eduardo and Arshavin on the bench, we’ve definitely got the talent to win tonight, I think the players just need to believe they can do it.

The key tonight is not to concede an early goal. The atmosphere should be buzzing tonight, and hopefully that will get the lads going. If you look back to the Semi-Final against United last year, the atmosphere before kick off was electric and we really started on the foot but as soon as we conceded, the belief of both the players and the fans just dropped. That can’t happen tonight, if we get an early goal, we need to push on for a second. Everyone knows that Arsenal are more than capable of scoring at home, and I’ve no doubt that we will tonight.

If anyone’s going tonight, get there early and show your support. Get behind the lads and see us into the quarter finals.

Come on Arsenal!

  • derek

    It’s becoming painfully obvious what’s going to happen this summer. Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid and Inter Milan will bid for Fernando Torres.

    Liverpool wont qualify for the Champions League, and all four clubs will see this as a great opportunity to pick up a wonderful player. Liverpool will have to accept any reasonable bids for Torres, as it’s well documented that they have no money.

    But wait, here’s the good news for Liverpool fans. What are the chances of Torres passing a fitness test? The poor fella has been run into the ground by Liverpool, and he hasn’t been right all season.

    Here’s the bit that has me frightened. If these clubs all pull out if trying to sign Torres due to his injuries, they’ll need another signing to cheer up their fans.
    After watching all the matches the weekend, there’s only one other striker in the Premiership playing like Torres right now. Nicklas Bendtner. 4 easy misses a piece this weekend. Wenger get him a new contract, now.

  • dampatti

    Last night on Radio 5, the commentator said that Liverpool were trying to make up ground on “Chelsea and Manchester United.”

    So that’s it then. We’re out of it.

  • derek

    Dear Mr. Waddle,

    Having un-jinxed Walcott, can you talk about Bendtner this time instead please?

  • devday

    Wills, it’s all about the atmosphere tonight and creating a buzz around the ground. I wouldn’t take into consideration the other wins against Porto, it’s a different game altogether tonight. It’s a one off, winner takes all.

    I think Arsene will play Arshavin instead of Walcott considering Theo has had a few games in a row…

  • devday

    Almunia
    Sagna – Campbell – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Diaby – Song
    Rosicky – Nasri – Arshavin
    Bendtner

  • Fo

    Surely Eboue will start after his impressive performance on the weekend…?

  • derek
  • Zegooner

    I agree with Fo..shouldn’t Eboue be giving the nod..he’s been consistent over the last few games..and has really impressed.

  • Sam

    We haven’t turned a first-leg loss around since 1975!
    Let’s make some history.
    Win, lose or draw, Gooner till I die.

  • Sam

    Bendtner 2 – 0 Porto!
    I hope all critics eat their words now!!!
    Great start.

  • andrew

    well, I was one of Bendtner’s critics over the weekend and it is great to see him rebound and score after getting stick from everyone. i hope this is just the beginning of him putting it all together after his long injury layoff.

  • manoo

    we are starting to get a bit lazy. concentrate!!!!!!!!!! well played in the 1st half, lets get that tempo back.

  • Sam

    4-0!!!!
    Every Gunner has been simply fantastic.

  • yemi

    good start for team and b52. what a miss my arshavin.

  • Pete

    SUPER! SUPER NIK! SUPER! SUPER NIK! SUPER! SUPER NIK! SUPER NIKLAS BENDTNER! :)

    Awesome game!

  • Vazy

    WHAT A GAME!!! 5-0.. bendner hattrick.. simply awsome!

  • Pete

    Nasri’s goal was quality too! :P

  • Sam

    Super fantastic game. Hat trick for N52, super goal for Nasri, and another great display from Eboue. Simply the best!

  • Josiah

    great result great game.

  • AmriGooner

    That is our team. Great great performance by every single player. They were all impressive.

    Great to see B52 get a hat trick. He is the one why we didn’t go for a striker and he is proving that was a right decision. Keep on that level Nikky.

  • Zegooner

    Nasri was simply BRILLIANT in the middle of the pitch. His pace, flair and crisp passing were delicious. His goal,pure class. Eboue came on as a substitute and deservingly got a share of the spoils. Wonderful game by all gunners involved. Had a few shaky moments in defense but that’s what we’ve grown to know about our beloved team:-D. I think Clichy needs to get a bit more credit because he has looked much better as the schedule has progressed. B52 looked good in possession today and was great to see him get his name on the score sheet,hell he notched a hat-trick!!!:-D..who doesn’t agree that TV5 has been the best by in alll of the Prem this season??..and likely even Europe!..WE MOVE ON!!!

  • Yemi

    @Zegooner: you just beat me too it. You see that clichy is gradually getting back into his stride. He was not beaten many times unlike the last leg and previous games

  • goonerman

    no one is slating bendtner anymore are they!
    i think that proves to everyone that someone can have one of them games or just a bad performance becuase he come out last night and as good as laughed in our faces!
    wenger says van persie is a month away at least so within the next month we could have ROBIN BACK!!!