Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Champion's League Round of 16

Arsenal play at Porto (Portugal) today in the first leg of the first knock-out round of the tournament. Aside from the usual problems at striker, the Gunners are suffering from injuries to key players including defender William Gallas and first-choice goalie Manuel Almunia. There's not much drop off to Arsenal's back-up goalie, Lukas Fabianski, but I'm not at all confident in 36-year-old Sol Campbell's ability to deputize for Gallas. My hope is  that Arsenal will, contrary to form, play it safe in this game, keeping mid-fielder Denilson back to help out in central defense, while looking for a few opportunities to counter-attack. A nil-nil result would not be a bad thing, as Arsenal would then have a chance to heal-up players prior to the second leg of the tie in London.

UPDATE: Final score Porto 2 - Arsenal 1. The two Porto goals came on horrific errors by Arsenal's goalie. Not surprisingly, the Gunner's neglected my advice and did not play defensively. Their midfield was all over the place. They're lucky to get out of Portugal with an away goal and down only one. Hopefully, they'll be healthier, especially Almunia,  for the return leg in London.

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