Porto preview: Learn the lessons from the first leg, and turn it around

Morning all.

There’s been so much talk about Arsenal’s form since our trip to Dubai, and domestically we’ve been nigh on perfect. Who can argue with eight successive wins and scoring a load of goals that sit you on top of the Premier League table?

The only blip in that period was the 1-0 defeat away at Porto, a result and a performance that we have to put right tonight. This is a club that has made huge progress in recent years, but the next step is going toe to toe with the big boys in Europe, and in order to do that we’ll have to overturn that deficit against tricky opposition later on.

I suspect we’ll see a couple of changes from the side that played in Portugal. I expect Jorginho to start in midfield. His experience in this competition could be important, not to mention how his presence in the middle allows Declan Rice to play higher up, and we spoke already this week about the goal contributions he’s been making. The latest, of course, was the opener against Brentford.

With Gabriel Martinelli ruled out because of a deep cut on his foot, there’s a decision to be made for his position. Arteta could stick with Leandro Trossard after playing him on Saturday, but if Gabriel Jesus is fit enough to start, I’d be very tempted to go with him on the left hand side. Like Jorginho, he has ton of Champions League experience, and while his goalscoring in the Premier League can be improved, there’s something about this competition that brings that aspect of his game to life.

This season, in five appearances (323 minutes), he has four goals and two assists, and his ability to produce in Europe is something I would be keen to see – assuming he’s ready to go from the off. The form of Kai Havertz means he should keep his place as the nominal centre-forward, and while Jesus doesn’t often play wide for us, this isn’t a case of taking him out of his comfort zone by any means. In Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey, there are two more players with…


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Author : arseblog

Publish date : 2024-03-12 08:12:50

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