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

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Can Porto withstand the London team's onslaught?

FC Porto will host Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match at the Estádio do Dragão. The fixture will take place on Thursday, February 22, beginning at 01:30 IST.

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

Porto News & Current Form: 

We all know how happy the Dragons were in the 2003/2004 season, when they were led to victory in the top European competition by Jose Mourinho, a rising star among coaches at the time. But since then a lot of water has flowed, and Porto, despite winning the UEFA Europa League in the season 2010/2011, even though they have almost always overcome the group stage of the Champions League, have reached the quarterfinals a few times. And for this quarter final they will have to fight again.  

Porto were in Group H with FC Barcelona, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp FC. In the matches against Barça, they suffered two defeats, 0:1 and 2:1, while they overcame the rest of their opponents with 12 points. The home game against Shakhtar in the last round, which ended 5:3, stands out, because it was in this game that the second participant in the playoffs was determined. 

In the Portuguese championship Porto do not shine, occupying only the third position after the perennial enemies SL Benfica and Sporting CP. The gap from first place is 7 points after 22 matches, but it could increase to 10 if Sporting win their rescheduled game and beat Moreirense FC on Monday. 

The wards of Sergio Conceição have won only 15 out of 22 matches. They have conceded 16 goals in that stretch of time, but they have also scored, by their own standards, few – just 37 goals.

Since the start of the calendar year, the hosts look invulnerable: they have won four games in a row – over Estoril Praia in the Cup (0:4) and in the championship over SC Braga (2:0), Moreirense (5:0) and SC Farense (1:3). After an unexpected misfire against FC Arouca ( 3:2) two weeks ago, Conceição’s men made up for it last Saturday with a 2:0 win over CF Estrela da Amadora.

Their only hope for a trophy remains in the Taça de Portugal. Porto have reached the quarter final stage, and if they beat CD Santa Clara, will face Vitoria Guimaraes in the semifinals.

In seven of the Dragons’ last eight Champions League clashes against English sides, the Portuguese have been eliminated from the tournament. Defender Ivan Marcano, now 36 years old, is suffering from knee problems and will not be able to take part in the first match of the 1/8 finals. 

Top scorer of FC Porto – Evanilson

Evanilson will surely be on the attacking tip on Wednesday along with Iranian Mehdi Taremi (22 last season), although the latter is lacking confidence in the current campaign. He has featured in 23 games in all official competitions for Porto this season, with only five goals and three assists.

Taremi also played unsatisfactorily in the match of semifinals of the AFC Asian Cup, in which his national team lost to Qatar (2:3). He spent all 90 minutes on the field, but did not make any useful actions. In anticipation of the upcoming meeting, Conceição gave the forward additional rest. However, something suggests that this will not help the cause.

Left-back Zaidu (Nigeria) returned to the club last weekend after the defeat in the CAF African Cup of Nations final – unfortunately, he was injured in the duel with Estrela and is unlikely to play against the Londoners.

Arsenal News & Current Form: 

In the Arsene Wenger era, many reminded him of early Champions League playoff defeats and humiliation: since the 2009/2010 season, the Londoners have been unable to reach the Champions League quarter finals despite their best efforts. However, the club played in the 2005/2006 final under Wenger. 

Is it possible that Mikel Arteta, who played under the great Frenchman, will be able to fulfill this dream? Quite, because he has again this season gathered a gang that is fighting for the long-awaited championship in the domestic championship. And he has the ability and desire, but now the main thing is not to get exhausted when playing on two fronts, the EPL and the European Cup.

In Group B, Arsenal competed with PSV Eindhoven, RC Lens and Sevilla FC. And won this group, having drawn only one match 1:1 with PSV, when the lead was already secured, and losing once to the French club 1:2. However, even with these failures, there was little chance of catching up with the Gunners: in the return match Arsenal scored six unanswered goals against the French club. Interesting fact: since the 2010-11 season, the London club has been eliminated from the tournament seven times in a row at the 1/8 finals stage.

Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Jorginho – all of these men distinguished themselves at the group stage of the Champions League for Arsenal. With such stars, you can and should fight to win every tournament. Especially with Saka, who is the club’s most expensive player.

In the English Premier League the Reds are also performing well and are fighting for the championship. After 25 rounds, Arsenal are in second place with 55 points, trailing Liverpool FC by only two points. However, Manchester City, who go third, have only two points less and have a match against Brentford FC in reserve. If they win it, the Citizens will move Arteta’s team a line lower.

Arsenal benefited from the recent break. In recent matches, the London club has gained terrific form – five wins in a row in the English Premier League. In three games out of 5 Arsenal scored five or more goals – humiliated Crystal Palace FC and Burnley FC with a score of  5:0, and destroyed West Ham United FC with 6 unanswered goals (6:0). In between these big victories were modest but very important victories over Nottingham Forest FC (2:1) and Liverpool (3:1).

The most expensive player of Arsenal FC with 15 goals scored this season – Bukayo Saka

Thus, the Londoners returned to the EPL championship race. They reduced the gap from the leading Merseysiders to two points. Mikel Arteta deserves special praise. During the break, he conducted a thorough work on mistakes and significantly improved the quality of team play of the squad.

Londoners showed high efficiency even before the last matches, but now have an average of 2.2 goals per 90 minutes for the season. Bukayo Saka looks great – he has already scored 15+13 in all tournaments. During the meeting with Liverpool, the forward suffered an ankle injury, but fortunately, everything went well and he avoided a serious injury. His attacking partners Leandro Trossard (10+2) and Martin Odegaard (8+7) are also very productive in front of goal.

Mikel Arteta still has to do without Thomas Partey (an important support player), young talent Fabio Vieira and Jurien Timber, who have not recovered enough from their physical ailments. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jesus are also questionable for the match, the same goes for central defender Takehiro Tomiyasu

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

Arsenal form guide: L-W-W-W-W-W

Porto vs Arsenal Head-To-Head Record:

  • December 10, 2008: Porto 2 – 0 Arsenal (UEFA Champions League);
  • Febryary 17, 2010: Porto 2 – 1 Arsenal (UEFA Champions League);
  • March 9, 2010: Arsenal 5 – 0 Porto (UEFA Champions League).

Porto vs Arsenal Predicted XI:

Porto’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Costa; Mario, Pepe, Otavio, Sanchez; Pepe, Varela, Gonzalez, Galeno; Taremi, Evanilson.

Arsenal’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.

Statistical preview of the match Porto vs Arsenal:

  • Porto’s First XI average age is 26.0 years, Arsenal’s First XI average age is 25.2 years.
  • The total value of Porto’s squad is 257 mln euros, while the total of Arsenal comes up to 1.11 bln euros.
  • Serdar Gozubuyuk has been appointed as the center referee. The referee has already served 23 games this season, showing an average of 4.2 Yellow Cards and also whistles 24 fouls per game. 
  • Porto have scored at least two goals in 5 of their last 6 Portuguese league games.
  • Porto have lost only 2 out of 16 games at the Dragao in all competitions this season.
  • Arsenal have won their last 5 meetings in the EPL.
  • Arsenal have scored 21 goals in their last 5 league games.
  • Bukayo Saka has scored 15 goals and made 13 assists in all competitions.
  • Arsenal have won 28 of 35 (80%) matches by the number of shots on goal against their opponents.
  • Porto’s average xG (expected goals) is 1.65, while Arsenal’s is 1.89. 
  • Porto are averaging 6.88 corners in the 2023/24 season, while Arsenal are averaging 6.6. 
  • On average, the Dragons receive 2.71 yellow cards per game.

What has been said before the match:

Gaffer of the Gunners Mikel Arteta about playing against Portugues Porto in Champions League fixture:

“I’m really impressed with Porto, I know the manager really well and the history that they have. They have a lot of experience in the competition, they have many qualities in many phases of play, that’s why they are always competitive in the European competitions.

It’s a really tough opponent that we are going to face tomorrow, and at the same time we are very excited. It’s been seven years that we haven’t been here and we are all full of energy and excitement to play the game we want to play tomorrow.”

“Portuguese are first of all very passionate, which is the first ingredient you have to know. Great coaches and great academies, among the best in Europe for sure, and it’s not a coincidence how many talents they develop and how successful they are in many leagues. It tells you the story about their culture and how they are raised. I’m a big fan of it.”

“We’ve been two or three months out of the competition and now we are going to face a really different stage of it. All the teams are very, very tough, we have little time to prepare the games, and the ball is rolling. You have to be very ready because the teams are very prepared and very dangerous.”

Porto vs Arsenal Prediction:

Despite the fact that Porto are periodically making noise in the European Cups, and therefore are widely recognised, we can hardly expect anything extraordinary from them at the moment. The club is going through difficult times. Compared to last season, their performance has dropped significantly, and their results have also deteriorated. Even at home, the Dragons are unlikely to put up a fight against the rampant Gunners. In defense, Sérgio Conceição aims to densify the game vertically when the opponents have possession of the ball by applying intense pressing. The high line of defense is built in 2 layers – 5 players meet the opponents in the middle of the pitch, while the fullbacks guard their teammates. The system is brought to finesse, but it suffers a lot when important players get injured, the depth of the squad is insufficient. Left-back Zaidou Sanusi, who has a knee injury, will not play in the match against Arsenal. Also in doubt is CDM player Steven Eustaquio, who is 2nd in the team in interceptions (16) and best in successful tackles (35). The Londoners, in contrast, are on the rise, having built up a great momentum thanks to a number of convincing and emphatic wins in the EPL. The Gunners are scoring a lot (2.32 goals per game) and conceding the least in the world’s strongest league (0.88 per game), with the threat coming from each and every player, it is difficult to neutralize such a team. We expect a confident victory for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Arsenal will win with an individual total over 1.5 – Yes.