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Porto preview. Can we gun down The Dragons?

February 17, 2010

Good morning Arsenal junkies, wherever you are!

Man, it has been really tough going all cold turkey after that nice rush of games being played every three days or so, no? Fear not, we are about to get our fix in the shape of the first game of the Champions League proper: we are on our way to Dragons’ lair, which is a tough place to go and the Fair Knights of North London (as opposed to a certain bunch of miscreants from down the road) will have their work cut out if they want to return with their shields and take a step closer to the elusive big eared footballistic equivalent of Holy Grail. Our quest begins here and it’s up to the folk in the shiny red and white armors to become heroes and legends –  lock and load Gunners, time to go medieval on them!

After a good result against Scousers, we are set for another moment of truth tonight – this will be a real test of maturity, mental strength and squad depth: once again, our squad seems decimated by injuries and there is some serious need for some of the underperforming players to step up and prove their worth to the club and ranks of doubting Thomases amongst the supporters. While I don’t mind seeing Sol starting in Billy’s place, I have my reservations about two positions where we have been notoriously understrength squad wise: after losing Song (knee) and Almunia (finger) we will have to make do with our second choice defensive midfielder and goalie who had a few stinkers recently and should play out of their skins to prove a point. They should consider themselves very lucky that Our Glorious Leader has patience of a saint, however, even this has to be wearing a bit thin these days as far as I am concerned. Frankly, I don’t think they will be allowed too many more lapses before Le Boss finally wields his axe – please don’t get me wrong, I am praying for both of them to soak up the pressure and play a blinder, but barring this uncertain occurence, these two may be the very reason for our undoing. Then again, as usual, I would like nothing more than to be proven wrong.

Moving on to the front three: with Arshavin out injured, I reckon we will see Bendtner in the middle partnered by Rosicky and Nasri in the wide forward positions. Well, at least this is who I would like to start: there are other options in the shape of Carlos and Theo, but I think they may be worth introducing later in the game against tired legs when they should put their main assets to a better use and tear them a new one. This team should have more than enough in their locker to score a crucial away goal or two and if we get this right, we may be able to gain some priceless advantage ahead of the return leg.

Just a small mention of yesterday’s games: as I said, barring some miracle, both visiting teams (ManYoo and Real) are pretty much as good as through, with the former scoring three away goals at San Siro and the latter losing by just one goal to Lyon. You will say that it will be enough for Milan to win by two clear goals and for Les Gones to hold the irritated Galacticos to a draw in two weeks time to progress, but you have to admit that it is much easier said than done…

Thank you for reading, let’s hope for some top-notch entertainment and good result tonight!

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