Porto v Arsenal: team news and recent activity



By Bulldog Drummond

Tomiyasu, Gabriel Jesus, Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko have all not travelled to Portugal.  However, Fabio Vieira who used to play for Porto has been declared fit and had indeed travelled with the squad.   Apparently, he has been offering his insights into how Porto will approach this game – which I imagine will also take into account their recent poor results, as highlighted in the last article.

“He gave us a few important (pieces of) information that are relevant for us,” Mikel Arteta is reported as saying.

Here’s a reminder of the group stages…

1 Barçalona 6 4 0 2 6 12
2 Porto 6 4 0 2 7 12
3 Shakhtar Donetsk 6 3 0 3 -2 9
4 Antwerp 6 1 0 5 -11 3

1 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 12 13
2 PSV 6 2 3 1 -2 9
3 Lens 6 2 2 2 -5 8
4 Sevilla 6 0 2 4 -5 2

Arteta has played down Arsenal’s chances saying that, “We don’t have the experience, that’s the reality – 95% of these players haven’t played this competition, they haven’t played the last 16.”  Which may be factually correct but I am not sure it makes that much difference to anyone.   And as Arteta said following on from that, “It’s great. We have earned the right to be here. It’s been seven years since we’ve been at the top table for these kind of matches and 14 years since we were able to go to the next stage.

“That’s the challenge. We know what is ahead of us, but we are very excited to face it and to go for it with full belief, that’s for sure.”

As for the team we know that Thomas Partey has returned to training after four months out and  Fabio Vieira is nearing a comeback after having groin surgery in November.   So it makes sense to have them involved with the squad, but I am not at all sure about them playing against a Porto team that has nothing to lose.

No one expects Porto to do particularly well in this competition, and going out in this round would be no disgrace especially as they are seven points behind the top two of Sporting and Benfica in their national league.   Besides which, it is being reported that their striker, Mehdi Taremi, is himself suffering after an injury that he sustained in training.

Of course, we also know that clubs do tend to put out all sorts of tales in European competitions to put off the opposition, so maybe it is all made up, especially as the “in training” explanation sounds a bit odd.

However full-back Zaidu Sanusi and centre back Ivan Marcano are both definitately out.

Games with Porto have only happened in the Champions League for Arsenal, where results have been mixed, with three wins to Arsenal and two to Porto, plus a goalless draw.  However, the defeeats to Porto and the draw have all come in matches in Portugal.

Date Match Result Score
26 Sep 2006 Arsenal v FC Porto W 2-0
06 Dec 2006 FC Porto v Arsenal D 0-0
30 Sep 2008 Arsenal v FC Porto W 4-0
10 Dec 2008 FC Porto v Arsenal L 2-0
17 Feb 2010 FC Porto v Arsenal L 2-1
9 Mar 2010 Arsenal v FC Porto W 5-0


On the other hand it is a fact that the last time Arsenal played Porto we won 6-2 overall.  And interestingly a certain Nicklas Bendtner scored three in the home game.    There is a video on Facebook here.

Also to Arsenal’s advantage is the fact that Porto normally get knocked out at this stage when facing a Premier League team, and the fact that the club that knocks out Porto usually goes on to reach the final.

But it is also a fact that Arsenal have gone out at this stage more than any other club so there will be some celebrations in simply getting past this round.  However, that does seem likely as Arsenal have knocked in a first-half goal in each of the past 13 Champs League matches they have played – a record (although not one that brings a trophy).

Arsenal are also doing well on “pass completion rate under pressure” – with an 86% ranking, the third best in Europe.

But of course, most attention will be on Saka who is not only our top league scorer but has been involved in a goal every 48 minutes he has played in the Champions League.  

The notorious Football.London site offer a team of


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior;

Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard;

Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.

They are also still raging on about imaginary super-computers telling us Arsenal won’t win the league, but since the super-computer they quote as doing the calculations doesn’t exist, I am not sure that matters.

The Standard is not giving us a predicted team but does say that Arsenal will win 0-3.

Sporting News gives us a slightly different lineup


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior

Odegaard, Rice, Jorginho

Saka, Havertz, Martinelli.

We shall see.

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