So, Porto it is. We must overcome the Portuguese outfit in the knockout stage of the Champions League if we are to stand any chance of making Madrid in May.
This will be the third time we have come up against Porto in the Champions League if my memory serves me correctly. Indeed, we met Porto in last season’s Champions League group stage and beat them 4-0 at home and, when qualification was already assured, lost 2-0 in Portugal.
Ultimately, the draw was relatively kind to us but we can be sure AW will not be taking Porto lightly. As of yet we have no reaction from AW to the draw but Gunners secretary David Miles believes the boss will be satisfied with the draw. He said: “I think he will be relatively pleased.
We have played Porto three times in four seasons so they are a team we know well.” So what do we know about Porto this season? Well, they were runners up to Chelsea in group D of this season’s group stage and suffered just two defeats in the group, both of which were against Kings Road Kremlinites.
Domestically, Porto are now only one point behind both Sporting Braga and Benfica at the top of their table as the top two stumbled last weekend and drew their respective matches. Porto had their chance to reduce their three point deficit to the top two the next day and did so in style with a 2-0 victory over Vitória de Setúbal.
Goals from Farias and Silvestre Varela being the difference between the two teams. In a change to previous Champions League competitions, the matches will be staggered over four weeks in February and March.
The side have their usual mix of Portuguese internationals and Latin American imports — with Raul Meireles said to be their main danger man — and they are certainly considered as durable but it is clear they are not the side they were under Jose Mourinho.
1st leg
FC Porto v Arsenal
Wednesday 17th February 2010
Kick Off 19.45 hrs (UK time)
At Estadio do Dragao, Porto

2nd leg
Arsenal v FC Porto
Tuesday 9th March 2010
Kick Off 19.45 hrs (UK time)
At Emirates Stadium, London

Who knows, we may even have some of our walking wounded available by then!

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