Porto Away/Fans’ Rights

A few hours away from kick-off in Oporto tonight we’re suffering our normal luck with injuries – all bad. It looks like Big Bad Bill Gallas will be out. Sol Campbell appears favourite to come in alongside Thomas Vermaelen in central defence. Alex Song and Andrey Arshavin are also missing, as are Carlos Vela and Manuel Almunia. Add to that the long-term injuries absences of Johann Djourou, Robin van Persie and Kieran Gibbs.
I’m not so sure that the latter injury isn’t a “diplomatic” one. In any event Lukasz Fabiański will keep goal tonight. Personally I’d have picked Don Vito Mannone. He’s more consistent than Fabiański I think. We can but hope that it’s the Fabiański that played so well at the Boleyn Ground in the FA Cup and in the last Champions League group stage game in Athens, rather than the man who turned up between the sticks in our FA Cup exit in the Potteries.
We need a good result tonight. I’ll take a win or a score draw of any description. Anything less than that and we could be in for a VERY uncomfortable night in the return leg at the Grove next month. I confess that I don’t think we’re close to good enough at the moment to go as far as the final in Madrid, never mind win the thing. That doesn’t stop me wanting us to absolutely maximise our chances of success in the tournament. We will need to stop letting in silly goals though and find more of a cutting edge up front than we’ve displayed recently.
On a completely different note the Football Supporters’ Federation is holding an open meeting in London next month on Thursday 4 March 2010. The theme is “Sit Down And Shut Up – Are Football Supporters Discriminated Against? The meeting will take place at the Vibe Bar, 91, Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL. Kick off is at 7.00pm.
There’s an interesting panel of speakers which will include the Arsenal police match commander. The meeting will be chaired by Tony Evans, football editor of The Times. Entry is free but you do need to book your place in advance.
And don’t forget, if you’re looking for a place to watch the game tonight with like-minded Gooners, REDaction has organised a free  big-screen showing at the Islington Academy which is a couple of minutes walk from the Angel Tube station on the City branch of the Northern Line.
Keep the faith!

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