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Porto vs. Arsenal

Estádio do Dragão

10/11/08

19:45

On Sky

F.C. Porto v. Arsenal

In a season that has been littered with disappointment and inconsistency, the Arsenal first team has managed to scrap together two wins in a row for the first time since October, when we beat Fenerbache in Turkey and West Ham at Upton Park.

In this final 2008 Champions League group stage match, Arsenal needs to leave Portugal with at least a point to secure a first place seed in Februarys` knock out rounds, but if this objective is not reached then Porto will top Group G.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger is looking to qualify first, while still looking forward to Middlesbrough. "It is difficult to say [if it will be important] but would we not feel guilty if we had a massive draw in the last 16?" asked Wenger. "We would have not done something when we know it can punish us.

"We want to finish first because we want to be the best. But it does not seem that first or second will make a huge difference this year."

"I want to protect the team for the 12.45pm kick-off at Middlesbrough but as well finish the job in the Champions League and not lose at Porto."

Porto manager, Jesualdo Ferreira, is looking for his squad to bounce back from the throttling at the Emirates. 'There will be no vendetta against Arsenal. Porto will be just playing with great responsibility,' explained Ferreira.

"It is very important to progress in this competition. It is what every player and coach wants. The game tomorrow will be just to decide who is first or second, nothing else."

"Both teams will come here relaxed because they are already qualified, and so it should be a great game to watch. It is in our philosophy to win every game and we will play to do that."

Porto Team News:

The Dragons are in fine form as of late, as the currently hold a six game win streak in all competitions, and have clawed themselves back into the title race, as they are just 5 points behind Benfica with a game in hand. Their last game was on Saturday, where they beat Vitória FC three to nil, with goals coming from Bruno Alves, Guarín, Lucho.

Porto will be without starting right back Cristian Sapunaru, as he picked up a thigh injury, and they will also be missing Fernando and Pedro Emmanuel.

Player to watch: The Hulk

The 'Hulk` has talked up this game as a perfect opportunity for Porto to exact revenge on Arsenal, so he will be ready to follow up on his promise. His type of striker has caused Arsenal defenders many problems in this season and in seasons past, so Djourou and Gallas will have to be at their best to control the big green beast.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal have plenty of injuries coming into this last group match. We will start with the good news first, as Gallas and Diaby are back for this game, though Nasri, Clichy, Sagna, Toure, Cesc, van Persie, and Adebayor will all be missing for various reasons.

This makes room for many of the Carling Cup stars to get into the squad. Kieran Gibbs, Gavin Hoyte, Mark Randall, Fran Merida, Jack Wilshire, Aaron Ramsey, and Jay Simpson have traveled to Portugal.

Player to watch: Emmanuel Eboue

Putting it nicely, Eboue had a horror afternoon on Saturday in his first start in over five weeks. After being booed off the pitch, he walked straight down the tunnel, but in tomorrow's fixture he will be needed to bounce back and fill in on the right wing because of our massive injury list. It will be interesting to see the reaction he gets from the away support, and I for one hope he gets a nice reception to show he is still an essential part of this squad.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal won the reverse fixture in this group by four goals to nil, with van Persie and Adebayor both grabbing braces for the Gunners. Two years ago when Arsenal went to Portugal, a boring and tedious affair followed as neither team threatened to break through, and it ended 0-0.

Ref Watch:

Greek referee, Kyros Vassaras, will be the head official for this game, while Dimitris Bozatzidis and Cristos Gennaios will be the linesmen, and Michail Koukoulakis is the fourth official.

Match Prediction:

A fatal flaw for Porto in this game will be their mentality to attack Arsenal. If you remember the game at the Emirates in September, Porto came very close to opening the scoring on numerous occasions, but they didn`t and it cost them. I see this game following the same trend with Porto pressing early but Arsenal prevailing in the end with a score of 3-1.

Next Fixtures:

13/12 (Sat)- Middlesbrough (A)- Premier League

21/12 (Sun)- Liverpool (H)- Premier League

26/12 (Fri)- Aston Villa (A)- Premier League






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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 9 2008

Time: 9:27PM

Your Comments

You gooners will come back like a wounded lion for this one. After all your recent disappointments in the Premiership -- I can see Porto getting slaughtered. They have a problem scoring against you, so it would make sense to hit them hard. I can see another 4 nil win.
Sindbad
nice work brice, i hope eboue gets a good reception. c'mon, no arsenal player deserves the treatment he got last weekend. as for the result, i think bendtner and vela would want to have a big game to keep them in contention for the first team. the central midfield will be interesting, exactly how wenger will set it up? no nasri or fabs, will he go with song and denilson or diaby and ramsey perhaps? eboue should start i reckon. i hope its a gallas and djourou in defence with perhaps silvestre and hoyte. i predict a 3 goal performance from our lads, maybe 1-3 or 2-3 to us. go gunners!
supersof
eboue eboue eboue eboue eboue eboue eboue eboue eboue
anonymous
If anyone "owes" us a good game it's Bendtner after that fiesta sized pile of rancid dog turd he served up against Burnley, god he was utterly crap! lol
LondonGooner
We appreciate your input on the creative side Spurfect one, but next time we'll ask someone with more talent than brick to help out.
LondonGooner
Eboue to play a blinder and create goals and get a standing ovation from home and away fans alike! :) As for result, a win to us, with a total of 3 goals or above!
GoonerLou
Eboue to score a hat-trick including a bicycle kick from inside our own penalty area.
ArsenalRob
Not only that, but I predict that (due to injuries), Eboue will have to face a pk in goal and make the save.
TPowell
Early (intended) touch for Eboue, dunno whether he knew it was coming or not, but gave his second touch away ..... lol .... played ok sonce then though. We're playing quite well for a team missing Sagna, Toure, Clichy, Nasri, Cesc, Rosicky, Walcott, Adebayor, Eduardo and van Persie. How many other teams could cope with THAT much talent missing?
Rocky7
Ah crap. Rubbish marking by Diaby!
Rocky7
I could of defended better than that. Song has been fantastic!
gunnerkid107
I think Denilson has done ok too.
Rocky7
**** **** ****!!!!
Rocky7
GK107 I agree about Song he's been good but I don't think Denilson is having a good game so far and Bendtner is *****e at the moment.
Armory
What a ***** piece of reffing. If it wasn't a freekick (which it clearly was) then how the knob and knackers can he give a goal kick??
Rocky7
He was playing ok at the time Armoury ..... lol
Rocky7
Argh... And how did that foul on Vela go unpunished?
GoonerLou
Denilson slows us down to much and wy not put simpson on for nicky.
Armory
Jack and Kieran on for Diaby and Ramsey (one of our best players).
Rocky7
Gibbs on the left does make sense. But I thought Ramsey did ok.
GoonerLou
Porto has shown more urgeny than we have. Disappointing to see.
prits
Silvestre needs to pass foward more, all he does is pass sideways or back.
prits
I was there when Gilberto passed forwards!!
Rocky7
Almunia is a sloth!!
Rocky7
Here is wear our problem is or a least one of them 60% possession an two shots at goal too 11 there of 5 on target from Porto.
Armory
how lucky are we? chasing shadow.
fcdematthew
Fans actually pay money for tickets & travel to watch this dross being served up by arsenal. The fans dont deserve it.
prits
The boss said we'd "feel guilty" if we lost the top spot to Porto. That's how I'm feeling right now.
GoonerLou
Atleast the kids tried against Burnley.
prits
Randall on for Song!!! what the *****
Armory
When is Arsene going to realize that playing 4 CMs never works! Also Bendtner is pure *****!
gunnerkid107
I'm surprised it's not Bendtner who came off. If we say Ade and RvP have their places too safe, Bendtner surely doesn't feel any challenge from Simpson or any one of the kids either.
GoonerLou
Yet another shocking display .... we played quite well up until their first goal too. Just fell to pieces after that. The only positive from this match is that when I watch football I can drink without recimination!!!
Rocky7
Agree, how long does Bendtner need? Its not like he isnt getting his chances. He needs to capitalise on them a lot more.
prits
Never fails - without Cesc, the boys go limp.
SUX2BU
GK - It's not like Wenger has had much choice tonight. Though if a winger isn't signed in January I give you permission to complain ... lol
Rocky7
Its not the question of Wenger's choice, Rocky. Even if we play our reserve team (and I mean our actual reserve team that plays in the reserve league), I'd expect them to complete simple passes, show some urgency, commitment, deliver decent set pieces that actually cross the 1st opposition player.
prits
And prits I would not have minded few more yellow cards, hard tackles and even a red card because at least that would have shown that some of them cared.
Armory
I think you misunderstood me prits, I wasnt saying there has been a distinct lack of passion and desire, far from it, just responding to GK's comment about playing 4 central midfielders.
Rocky7
Agree Armory. Do these players look like they care? The passing so casual. I thought they would come out strong in the 2nd half, but they were actually worse than the 1st.
prits
Apologies, Rocky.
prits
And well done Aalborg, at least there is a group of players that cared enough, they have just drawn with utd at old trafford, 2 all.
Armory
Lol - no need to apologise buddy!! :)
Rocky7
I was just a little worked up, mate :). I didnt read that your post was in response to GKs.
prits
Like a lot of you, I didn't mind the top spot too much before the game. But the performance was disappointing. Now we'll avoid mighty Inter, Sporting, Atletico, Villareal, Real and Lyon; and no English opponents either of course. Possible opponents are Roma, Panathinaikos (well done Gilberto!), Barca, Juve and Bayern. The draws will take place next Fri, 19th Dec.
GoonerLou
We'll get either Barca or Panathanikos .... because it always happens like that!
Rocky7
Haha yeah Rocky I was thinking along those lines too. But if we got someone like Roma or Bayern, it'd be a funny pair of completely open games with no defence as if both teams were playing 1-5-4 or something with the two goalies being the busiest guys on the pitch. (It'd've been perfect with Bremen in the draws..)
GoonerLou
SUX2BU -- "without Cesc, the boys go limp" -- Surely there's a better way to convey your message, lol.
TPowell
pink boots is going backwards...he does everything wrong.....our dead balls were shocking...we had no pace in the full back positions,two players coming back from injury faded badly, and no creativity up front...but credit is that we were in control till they scored.
fran merida
Rocky I see your point, but we have been in need of a wide midfielder for yearsss! So in terms of complaining, I think now is still a good time
gunnerkid107
Time to string the wins together
Tiny T
we'll need one win first to string some together, haha
TPowell
 

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