Arsenal vs Porto. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Will Porto be able to save the advantage at the Emirates?

Arsenal FC will host FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League ⅛ finals match at the Emirates Stadium. The fixture will take place on Wednesday, March 13, beginning at 01:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Arsenal News & Current Form: 

Two weeks ago at the Estadio Do Dragao there was a sensation when Galeno scored his team’s winning goal in the last minute of the game, giving the Dragons a slight advantage ahead of the return leg.

Then the Gunners showed almost nothing and even deservedly got a good slap in the face in the end. But everything that happened in Portugal that night can be attributed to saving energy and distributing it to fight on all fronts. This time it won’t work, now the Londoners need to act and move on. 

The team last played in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2010. Since then, they have not passed the barrier 1/8 finals of the tournament. In the season 2022/2023 the Gunners played in the UEFA Europa League

Arsenal’s January crisis has been overcome, now it can be said loudly. The new year has undermined Mikel Arteta’s team, it even seemed that it would fall out of the championship race after a couple of unexpected defeats, but then inspiration came from somewhere. 

The Red and Whites have 64 points and are currently top of the table, 1 point ahead of Liverpool FC, but the Merseysideiders have a game in hand tomorrow against Manchester City (62 points).

Mikel Arteta’s team finally had their streak broken last weekend. Not a winning streak, as you might think, but a streak of crushing victories. They finally struggled to win, rather than defeating their opponents without a chance. 

Brentford did their best, having come to the Emirates and created certain problems for the Londoners. The meeting turned out to be very interesting and eventful. Both teams could have scored more, but the Gunners showed character and finished the opponent in the end.

The winning goal was scored by Kai Havertz, about whom the attitude of Arsenal fans has changed for the better. At the beginning of the season, the German was regularly criticized, but Arteta continued to believe and look for the best use of his strengths. As a result, in the last four meetings in the EPL, the midfielder marked four goals and two effective passes.

In the last game Oleksandr Zinchenko finally returned to the pitch after injury, he came on as a substitute at the end of the game, after which his team snatched victory. In general, until last weekend, Arsenal had little resemblance to a team that was more of a killing machine. After all, they beat Sheffield United FC (6:0), Newcastle United FC (4:1), Burnley FC (5:0), West Ham United FC (6:0). 

In all eight of the last rounds of the championship they have celebrated victories. Londoners became only the fourth team in history to win the first eight meetings in the calendar year. Previously it was Manchester United FC (2009), Liverpool (2020) and Manchester City (2021). In those seasons, they all became champions.

Bukayo Saka – first Englishman since Ian Wright to score in five or more consecutive EPL games in a Gunners shirt

Over that stretch of time, the wards of Mikel Arteta have conceded only four goals, while scoring as many as 33. Seven of them were scored by Bukayo Saka, he also gave two assists. The winger became the first Englishman since Ian Wright to score in five or more consecutive EPL games in a Gunners shirt. He has been the sole leader of the top scorers of the championship since the beginning of 2024.

The Londoners will have to play in the second leg without a few players who are in the infirmary – Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber are definitely out, but there are still hopes for Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesús and Thomas Partey to make a speedy recovery from their injuries, especially given the importance of the upcoming match.

Porto News & Current Form: 

Porto’s campaign has also been successful: they are third in the Portuguese league table with 55 points and are also in the championship race, although there are not many chances of triumph. 

In the last two rounds in the Primeira Liga, the wards of Sergio Conceição won a big win over SL Benfica (5:0) and defeated Portimonense SC (3:0). Nicolas Gonzalez scored on 7 minutes, then Porto scored two more goals in the second half. They also reached the 1/4 finals of the Taça de Portugal, having defeated CD Santa Clara at the previous stage (2:1).

In the first half of the season, the Dragons lacked exactly the usual performance. Not least because of the decline of Mehdi Taremi, the Iranian striker, who scored a lot earlier, is having one of the worst seasons of his career. In 16 games in the Primeira Division, he has scored only three goals and given one assist.

And now there are rumors about the player’s move to FC Inter Milan, and it was the Iranian who was the backbone of Porto, the most important player who dragged the team through the Champions League group. 

The team spent the group stage of the UCL on the level, because in six rounds they scored 12 points and from the second position without problems found themselves in the playoffs. There are reasons to believe that the upcoming match will please viewers with efficiency. 

The Dragons should definitely not be underestimated. They have been performing well on the international stage for years and have caused problems to very strong opponents. It is possible that they will manage to take it to extra time or a penalty shootout.

Mehdi Taremi – key player of FC Porto is likely to join Inter Milan in the summer transfer window

In the season 2022/2023 the team also played at the stage of 1/8 finals of the Champions League and took the first place in the quartet. In the 1/8 finals Porto fell to the future finalist of the tournament, with Inter they played a 0:0 draw at home and lost 0:1 away, conceding on 86 minutes. The Dragons last played in the quarterfinals in the 2020/2021 season and eventually lost to Chelsea FC at this stage.

Arsenal form guide:  W-W-L-W-W-W

Porto form guide: W-W-D-W-W-W

Arsenal vs Porto Head-To-Head Record:

  • February 17, 2010: Porto 2 – 1 Arsenal (UEFA Champions League);
  • March 9, 2010: Arsenal 5 – 0 Porto (UEFA Champions League);
  • February 21, 2024: Porto 1 – 0  Arsenal (UEFA Champions League).

Arsenal vs Porto Predicted XI:

Arsenal’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Jorginho, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Jesus.

Porto’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Costa; Mário, Pepe, Otávio, Wendell; Varela, Gonzalez; Conceicao, Pepe, Galeno; Evanilson.

Statistical preview of the match Arsenal vs Porto:

  • Arsenal’s First XI average age is 26.1 years, Porto’s First XI average age is 26.0 years.
  • The total value of Arsenal’s squad is 1.11 bln euros, while the total of the Portuguese club comes up to 283 mln euros.
  • Clement Turpin has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served 23 games this season, showing an average of 3 Yellow Cards and also whistles 24 fouls per game. 
  • Arsenal have won their last 3 home games against Porto in the Champions League.
  • Arsenal have not lost in 3 out of 4 Champions League games. Arsenal have scored at least 4 goals in 5 of their 6 home games.
  • Arsenal have won 4 consecutive home games, scoring at least 2 goals in each (and 14 in total).
  • In all 3 of Porto’s away games in the UCL this season, both teams have scored in all 3 of them.
  • In 3 of Arsenal’s home games this season, the Londoners have beaten their opponents dry (12-0 overall).
  • Porto have not lost by two goals or more in 7 away games in the Champions League.
  • Porto have lost 3 head-to-head matches in London with a goal difference of 0:11.
  • In 35 of the 39 matches (89.7%) of the season, Porto served three or more corners. 
  • Arsenal’s average possession percentage is 60.59%, while Porto’s is 60.4%.
  • Arsenal’s average xG (expected goals) is 1.87, Porto’s is 1.73.
  • Arsenal commit an average of 10.08 fouls per game, while Porto commit 13.61.
  • Arsenal average 5.54 shots on target, while Porto average 5.74.
  • Arsenal average 1.79 offsides per game, while Porto average 2.08.

What has been said before the match:

Gaffer of the Gunners Mikel Arteta about being at the top of Premier League and becoming better every day:

“It’s great to be top, that’s for sure – it was an amazing game of football with two magnificent teams, with so many alternatives. I think it’s an amazing situation that we are even involved, looking at the level that those two teams have, and we are still there and we’re still at the top. So, the ambition rises, we want to continue to be there, and we have to go game-by-game.”

“We’re certainly going to have to tweak a few things to generate much more than what we did against Porto. It’s the level of the Champions League; you’re facing top teams, the fact that there are two games as well plays on your mind and we’re going to have to be better tomorrow.”

“Every week, every opponent has their strengths and weaknesses and the way that they approach the game and now we know them a bit better. We have played these kinds of games many times in the Premier League, we played one two days ago. We’ll just focus on being ourselves and do more of the things that we can control better than we did a few weeks ago.”

Arsenal vs Porto Prediction:

Porto appear to be in great form, boasting the best defense in Liga Portugal (conceding 0.82 goals per game) and scoring often: 1.84 per game. However, such figures can hardly be considered representative if we bear in mind that more than 70% of the modest Portuguese championship have many times much less resources. For example, Portimonense SC, who were beaten 0-3 by the Dragons this weekend, have a squad worth 14 times less. At the same time, the 23/24 season in the national championship can be labeled a failure: the gap from the leading Sporting is 7 points, while the Lions have 1 game in hand. Still, the White-Blues have a lot of experience of continuous Champions League appearances, with a handful of talents in the squad that are motivated to get on the radar of top clubs. They play well without the ball and are able to be disciplined and patient when playing second fiddle, and that helped them find a counter-argument against a bright, attacking and constantly pressing Arsenal in the first leg. Sergio Conceição’s side have managed to destroy almost everything the English side have tried to create and they plan to do the same in London. Except now the factor of frantic home support will play against Porto, and all the tactics that allowed them to shut Arsenal down have already been uncovered. Besides, Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff must have thoroughly studied all the moves that Dragons used to destroy their main rival Benfica (5:0) in the Portuguese league recently, so there is hardly any room for surprises now. Remarkably, the Portuguese have only 2 clean sheets out of 7 matches in this UCL campaign, and last year they crashed out just because of a goal conceded in an away play-off against Inter (0:1; 0:0)

Immediately after the first game Arteta declared that the lessons will be learnt and we will see a completely different game in the return leg. Arsenal are currently showing some of the most attractive football in the world, which translates into a number of confirming metrics: the best attack and defense in the EPL, the leading position, etc. In the Premier League, the team has won 8 consecutive matches, and 6 times with at least a two-goal difference. Arsenal’s results at the Emirates Stadium are impressive: in 10 previous home games in the EPL, the Gunners have claimed 9 victories – and again, six of them were won by more than one goal. At their arena, they have dealt with both Liverpool and Man City, the milestone that fans have been waiting for for a long time. In addition, wards of Mikel Arteta confidently won on their field in all matches of this group round of the Champions League: 3 clean-sheet wins, in all cases the difference was more than one goal. It is also worth recalling that Londoners have played three times with Porto in the Champions League and had no problems in home games, in which they defeated the opponent with a total score of 11:0. Certainly, the Red-Whites will make adjustments after the failure in Portugal, where the team did not reveal even half of their potential. Although the team is young, the players already have experience of playing under enormous pressure, they will find a resource to remove the nervousness to show their best football. Due to the support of the home crowd, chemistry, versatility, excellent form, availability of all key players and confidence in their abilities, the Gunners will achieve the necessary advantage in the return meeting and will progress to the 1/4 finals. 

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Arsenal will win with a handicap (-1.5) – Yes.

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