Archive for March 9th, 2010

Porto Preview: In Cesc’s absence, Nasri and Campbell must shine

8 comments March 9th, 2010

It won’t surprise many of you to know that Arsene Wenger has deemed fielding Cesc Fabregas against Porto too great a risk.  The logic is simple: if Fabregas does any further damage to his hamstring tonight, it could rule him out of our Premier League run-in – and what a run-in that looks to be.  As the end of the season creeps closer, our title chances seem to improve.  With fourteen league goals and fifteen assists to his name, it’s clear the skipper is vital to maintaining our domestic hopes.

Team to face PortoNot that he wouldn’t have been useful tonight. In his absence Samir Nasri will continue in the central role in which he excelled against Burnley, with Abou Diaby and Alex Song book-ending him like a pair of totemic body-guards. They’ll need to be at their most vigilant tonight – conceding would leave us needing to go through without the trauma of a penalty shoot-out.

Nasri was outstanding at the weekend, showing close control and awareness reminiscent of his Catalan team-mate.  With his hefty price-tag and significant reputation, it’s easy to forget that he is only 22, and several years from his peak.

Hoping to keep Porto at bay will be Sol Campbell, fit again and likely to step in for Mikael Silvestre.  The back four looks more balanced with Campbell in it, partially because he’s right-footed, but largely because he’s not Mikael Silvestre.  Manuel Almunia will be wearing the armband tonight, but in Cesc’s absence it is Campbell who the side will look to for leadership and, crucially, a calming influence.

There is no need to panic tonight.  A 1-0 win will see us through.  Go 1-0 down, and we suddenly need three goals.  So we can afford to keep it fairly tight.  With mercurial talents like Arshavin and Walcott to call upon we will always offer an attacking threat.  We can’t afford to be gung-ho and get caught by the pace of Varela and Hulk.

Have patience.  Porto will attempt to frustrate us, but I am convinced that the goal(s) will come.  And after his travails at the weekend, what price a Nicklas Bendtner winner?

Come On You Gunners.

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


March 2010
« Feb   Apr »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker