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Porto v Arsenal Preview

Arsenal’s trip to Portugal has got tougher as Arsenal’s injury list means that they will be without five regulars tomorrow night. Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song got injured against Liverpool last week and have not recovered while William Gallas, Eduardo and Manuel Almunia will also miss the game.

“William Gallas has a calf injury. Alex Song has a knee injury. Andrey Arshavin has a hamstring injury,” said Wenger before leaving for Portugal. 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.”

Previous meetings

  • Porto beat a young Arsenal side 2-0 in the group stages, while Arsenal won 4-0 in the first match at the Emirates.

Match Background

  • This is the sixth time in seven consecutive campaigns that Porto have reached the knockout rounds. Last season they lost to Manchester United FC in the quarter-finals after a 1-0 second-leg defeat at home.
  • Prior to United’s visit Porto were unbeaten against English visitors, eleven contests yielding five wins and six draws. United’s 1-0 triumph was followed by Chelsea, who won by the same score in this season’s group stage.
  • Prior to their meetings with Porto, Arsenal had faced Portuguese opposition only once before in UEFA club competition, losing to Benfica in the 1991/92 the European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round. After a 1-1 draw in Lisbon, the Gunners suffered a 3-1 extra-time loss in London.
  • This is the tenth successive campaign in which Arsenal have advanced from the initial group stage. Last season they reached the semi-finals before also bowing out to Manchester United, losing 1-0 away and 3-1 at home.

Team News

Porto

The big news for the hosts is the return to action of Hulk, who has been sidelined for several weeks. In addition Raul Meireles has been given the all-clear to play. However, Diego Valeri, Ernesto Farias and Orlando Sa are all expected to miss the game as is Cristian Rodriguez,

Probable Starting XI: Helton; Fucile, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Pereira; Belluschi, Fernando, Raul Meireles; Hulk, Falcao, Mariano

Arsenal

Probable Starting XI: Fabianski; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby; Nasri, Bendtner, Rosicky

Prediction
The Estadio do Dragao is a really tough place to win. It took a wonder goal from Ronaldo last year for man Utd to finally end Porto’s unbeaten home streak against Porto. I don’t think that Arsenal necessarily have to win tomorrow in order to

Progress to the next round. What is important is that Arsenal get that all important away goal. So a 1-1 result would great, and even a 2-1 loss would not be end of the world as I expect Arsenal to win the second leg at home and progress to the quarter finals.

What do you think the score will be?

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