Another week and another huge game for the Arsenal. This time it is in the Champions League as Arsenal try to overcome a 2-1 deficit and defeat Porto to move into the quarter-finals.
Arsenal will have to do it the difficult way, without inspirational leader Cesc Fabregas who will miss the game due to a hamstring injury, as well as William Gallas who will also miss the game due to a calf injury.
But the good news for Arsenal is that Sol Campbell has recovered from the groin problem that kept him out at the weekend, and with Arshavin, . But with Arshavin, Nasri and Walcott all fit, Arsene Wenger will have a good squad to pick from.
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal Coach:
There’s always something new in our game so we can innovate and change history. The team has a good chance to make history. We are very young and in a strong position and, of course, we want to win. Scoring away from home is still a massive advantage under UEFA rules and that’s why we are confident we can do it.
In the first game, Porto defended well. I don’t think they will be ultra-defensive. We conceded unusual goals in the first game so we want a better defensive performance and we want to score goals. We know it’s a tricky game, as it always is in the Champions League against an opponent of Porto’s quality, but we believe we can do it. We are confident and are in a good position, so let’s go for it.
Jesualdo Ferreira, Porto coach
We need to have confidence in what we do as the game will probably be decided by small details. The balance of the game and how the result pans out will be decisive so we don’t need to talk about different scenarios which might happen. At Porto we know what our qualities are and we are confident. We know it will be a difficult match but we have the weapons to make it difficult for Arsenal.
We know the [first-leg] goal they scored puts them in a very good position. For that reason we need to fight, be positive, get a good result and qualify. Last year we reached the quarter-finals and our objective is to do that again. I want to put right the fact that Porto have not won in England before – there’s always a first time for everything.
- Porto have progressed in the last 24 two-legged UEFA competition ties in which they were defending an advantage away from home. Arsenal have only managed to overturn one such deficit in nine attempts.
- Porto have lost all six of their trips to London including a 1-0 loss at Chelsea in this season’s group stage and 4-0 defeat by Arsenal last season.
Porto are not an easy team to beat, but I expect Arsenal’s speed and passing ability to be the deciding factor in the game. That away goal in Portugal by Sol Campbell was huge and ultimately I expect that to be the difference.
I am not that confident that Arsenal can shut Porto out, but I believe that they will create enough chances to go through. The only potential problem I see is that Arsenal spurns a lot of chances in front of goal and I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt them.
Arsenal 3 Porto 1. Arsenal advances 4-3 on aggregate