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By Fab4.

The Champions League is back and i can’t wait to watch Arsenal face Porto at the Estadio do Dragao tonight. Not for the first time this season we have been hit by injuries ahead of a key game but i still think we have enough to get a result.

So the news broke yesterday that Arsenal flew out to Portugal without five key players, that’s on top of long-term victims RVP, Gibbs and Djourou. We knew Andrey Arshavin would miss the game and Song was a major doubt. But the unexpected lose of Almunia, Gallas and Eduardo just typifies our luck with injuries this year.

Although he can produce a piece of magic from nothing, i don’t think we will miss Arshavin that much. In a tough away fixture like this we need all our attacking players to help out the defense as much as possible and Rosicky and Nasri will cover the full-backs more than Arshavin would.

The form of Almunia this year has proved to a lot of Arsenal fans that he’s not up to it and i really wasn’t bothered when i heard he was injured. Although Fabianski is far from perfect, i have no problems with him starting tonight.

The loss of Eduardo is a little disappointing as he could have been useful to bring on for the last 20 minutes but Bendtner would have started regardless of Eduardo being fit or not so it won’t affect the starting line-up. The return of Vela should compensate for Eduardo’s absence.

But the team is definitely going to feel the absence of Song and Gallas. Unfortunately Song’s injury means the likely return of Denilson to the starting eleven. I hope not, but we know Wenger can’t resist the opportunity to play his beloved Denilson so i expect him to take Song’s place as defensive midfielder. I honestly hope he has a good game, but im not holding my breath.

Gallas’s injury opens the door for Sol Campbell to make his first Champions League appearance since scoring in the 2006 Final. It is likely that Campbell will get the nod over Silvestre, with Arsene Wenger confirming he isn’t keen on playing two left-footers together.

We have Silvestre too who can come in, too, but the difference is that if Silvestre plays then we have two left-footed players at centre half.

I had no worries about Sol playing in the FA Cup against Stoke as they are a bunch of long-ball hoofers and he could deal with that, but tonight he will face THE HULK! This bloke has pace and if Campbell gets left one-on-one with him, no chance. Lets hope he uses his experience to deal with the Porto attack, i back Sol to have a good game tonight. Im interested to see how he and Vermaelen play together.

Predicted starting team


Sagna                         Campbell               Vermaelen                  Clichy


Fabregas                        Diaby

Rosicky                                                                             Nasri


That team is still good enough to get at least a draw tonight. Arsene might start with Walcott to give us some pace, he may even stick Eboue in for Rosicky after his impressive display against Liverpool and he would offer good defensive cover for Sagna.

I think Wenger knows that we just need to avoid defeat tonight and that should be good enough to see us through at home. Porto have a great home record but a terrible away one. An away goal would be handy but i would take a 0-0 now.

Some facts

  • Arsenal have never won at Porto with their previous attempts ending in three draws and one defeat.
  • No English side have ever scored more than once at the Estadio do Dragao.
  • Arsenal have won just once in their last seven European away games.
  • We didn’t score on four of those seven occasions.

So trust me, a 0-0 would not only be a good result, it is a likely result!



  1. J4ck Henry

    February 17, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Big game tonight, but i fancy us to win. Just have a feeling. Old Pink boots himself to grab the winner!

    But i agree, a draw would be a decent result.

    Didn’t realise our record was that bad in Porto!

  2. Fab4

    February 17, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Hi J4ck,

    Nice to see you again. ‘Pink boots’ haha, yeah he will be important tonight. I like him up front, he works hard and is a big lad.

    People are surprised by Porto’s home record in general, they are a very good side.

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