Er, right. Back to the drawing board then. That was the most lacklustre and careless performance from an Arsenal side since…a month ago when we lost at Craven Cottage. I can take losing, but losing to a newly promoted side at home through sheer lack of effort is hard to take. When we gave away the corner for the second goal on Saturday, I looked at the back four and they all had their heads down and looked dejected, no one looked up for it and ready to defend, despite the score only being 1-1. Having seen that, I said to the bloke next to me "They’re going to score from this", and there we are, 2-1 down. On reflection the performance wasn’t that terrible, but there was no cutting edge, and when it takes being 2-1 down at home to Hull City for apparent title contenders to show any sort of urgency, there’s a problem. Eboue was back to his worst, running into people instead of around and them and shirking any responsibility in and around the penalty area. Denilson was poor, the amount of miss-hit passes and shots was criminal, he seemed unable to make a clean contact with the ball. The game seemed to pass Adebayor by.
Still, we need to move on. While this Premier League season is already looking like fourth is perhaps the best we can hope for unless things swiftly turn around, the Champions League is always a competition we can do well in regardless of our league form if things go right for us for a change (like penalty decisions at Anfield, for instance). When we beat Real Madrid in the second round in 2006 we were something like 8th in the league. Three days after beating them at the Bernabeu we lost our seventh away game of the season against Blackburn.
Porto are third in the Portuguese league after four games. We drew them in the group stages in the 2006-2007 season, winning the home leg through goals from Thierry Henry and Hleb, and drew the away leg 0-0. Porto won their opening group game against Fenerbahce and are top with three points, a win on Tuesday would be important ahead of a trip to Turkey which probably won’t be easy.
Samir Nasri has been training with the first team and is back in the squad. Song has picked up a knock and won’t be involved in the squad. Other than that our injury problems remain as Diaby, Rosicky and Eduardo. I’d expect a similar side to that which lost to Hull on Saturday, with maybe a couple of changes. With the way Adebayor and van Persie played against Hull, Bendtner and Vela should be given a chance as they’re both in form and fresher.
Subs: Fabianski, Silvestre, Eboue, Wilshere, Ramsey, Adebayor, van Persie.