UEFA Champions League: Arsenal vs. Porto
English Premier League side Arsenal takes on Portuguese champions Porto at the Emirates Stadium tonight (19:45 GMT) in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie.
The Gunners went down 2-1 at Estadio do Dragao in the first leg and must overturn a one-goal deficit in order to advance to the quarterfinals of Europe’s elite competition. But can Arsenal overcome the absence of William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie?
“It is true that at the start of the season you would want Fabregas, Van Persie and Gallas to be the spine of the team but without them we can show that we are still strong enough,” said Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
With Fabregas out, Samir Nasri could move into the centre of midfield, alongside Alex Song. The 22-year-old Spanish midfielder suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem soon after scoring the opening goal in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Burnley last weekend. He is the club’s leading scorer this season with 17 goals but Wenger said the risk of playing him against Porto was too great.
The Dragons of Portugal haven’t won in their last 13 trips to England, but coach Jesualdo Ferreira will at least take some comfort in the fact that the North Londoners have overturned a first-leg away loss in the Champions League just once in nine previous attempts.
UPDATE: Nicklas Bendtner scored a hat-trick as the Gunners thrashed FC Porto 5-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League.