Gallas, Almunia, Song, Eduardo, Arshavin …….

…. are all out with injuries against Porto. Given that and Arsenal’s poor away record in CL matches and this match is ripe for limiting damage. There is no dishonour in doing what Chelsea did against Barca last season in their semi-final first leg. It might be downright pedestrian and even abhorrent given our inclination to attack but in such exigencies, it is the smart thing to do.
Lukacz Fabianski gets his start. Sol Campbell partners Thomas Vermaelen. It is not an enviable situation when you think that they will have to contend with a Porto attack headed by Raul Meirelles and the physical duo of Falcao and Hulk up front. Denilson and Bendtner should find themselves in the line up.
To lift what must be a somewhat demoralized squad, Wenger invoked the 2006 CL run.
“Yes we need to revive that spirit,” he admitted. “We need to dig deep and we know that. You do not go to Porto, who have played 10 consecutive years in the Champions League, and get away with an easy game. We need to be special. We cannot turn up in the last 16 with an average game.”
A draw would be a fantastic result. Return to the Emirates in three weeks with Gallas, Song, and Arshavin healed for a better chance at a win.
Here is Arseblog’s take on the Porto affair >>
Champions League last 16 first leg
Venue: Estadio do Dragao Date: Wednesday 17 February Kick-off: 1945 GMT

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