London tie welcomes back stars as Arsenal collects three points against Porto despite their Champions League loss.


Despite losing the first leg in Porto, Arsenal will have reinforcements before the rematch at Emirates Stadium.

Galeno’s goal late in the game sent Arsenal down to FC Porto in their first leg of the Champions League last-16. It was a sucker punch that would break the tension that had grown so strong before these confrontations.

After two decisive triumphs away from home and five straight league victories, the enthusiasm has soured. Declan Rice addressed the team’s desire to keep going despite this setback, especially with the crucial match against Newcastle coming up in a few days.

Coming home stretch
It’s encouraging to know that Arsenal has the opportunity to make this right at home. Despite Mikel Arteta’s dismal—indeed, concerning—record in the European tournament knockout stages in North London, the opportunity to correct it is crucial.

It would have been a different situation entirely if they had lost the first leg at home knowing they would have to travel to Portugal and win by possibly two goals. The squad has won significant games this season because to its boisterous, noisy atmosphere at the Emirates.

No more away goals
The elimination of the away goals rule in UEFA play is an additional advantage. Although this irritating, since-removed ruling has hurt Arsenal in the past, Arteta need not worry if Porto scores more goals than Arsenal on the evening.

It also implies that if extra time or penalties are needed, they will be played on their home field. Porto has a poor record in England as well. The last time the Gunners lost to Porto in the Portuguese Champions League, the Gunners won the second leg 5-0, so all was OK.

Recovery time prior to the second leg
Given that the second leg isn’t scheduled for another three weeks, Arsenal fans are hoping that some of their injured players will recover. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus, and, with any hope, maybe even Jurrien Timber could have made a comeback and be available for the match.

Jesus seemed to have been better suited for the game last night, and Zinchenko’s additional midfield presence to help consolidate control would have been very helpful. Although Partey’s gradual decline may have contributed to the transition, there are still many unanswered questions. Partey’s quality has been lacking for some time.

Arteta makes a mistake.
Despite Mikel Arteta’s desire, he was unable to enter the game. He was unable to inspire his team to produce a performance as brutal as what we have recently witnessed in the league, unless he wanted to play a slow game in which every attack seemed lackluster and without much threat, relying on free-kicks and corners to get the best opportunities.

During the match, he made just one substitution, bringing in Jorginho, a player I would have like to see start. Trossard and Havertz’s starts provided virtually little attacking flexibility, albeit Emile Smith Rowe might have made a contribution.

Rice acknowledged as much after the game, citing Arsenal’s lack of experience and their inability to play smart in the closing minutes. It will now be a challenge for Arteta to advance to the quarterfinals.

Trossard’s run is ended Until last night, Leandro Trossard had never lost a game for Arsenal when he started at center forward. He also had one of the team’s better opportunities, hitting a volley high over the bar from a corner.

The Porto defense were content to let the ball be played into wide areas where Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka had no impact during the match, and the Belgian found it difficult to enter the game. When Arsenal visits London, they will have to devise new offensive strategies, and perhaps Jesus’s second coming will provide the answer.

The referee seemed to be glued to his whistle, like a moth to a flame, making it the most stop-start game I have ever seen. It was like a buzzing housefly, always returning to spoil everyone’s day and seeming to notice the smallest movement.

Opta reports that only 51.7% of the game was played with the ball in play. Arsenal will be relieved to have a new referee for the match in London, but Porto will undoubtedly try to irritate, disrupt the game once more, and sit deeper as they attempt to maintain their lead.

Nevertheless, Arsenal’s ability to break through low blocks has improved significantly this season. The club will benefit greatly from an early goal on March 12 and I am looking forward to it, but before there are three difficult Premier League games that must be won.


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