Post-mortem – Porto gave Arsenal a much-needed lesson in humility

I’m sending this in regarding my thoughts on our game against Porto by Baron
👉On the balance of play, a draw would have been a fair result, but it wasn’t to be, so we learn from this & move on to the next one.
👉 In a regular league season you have to be the best (read most consistent) over a gruelling season to win the league, & that’s why i agree with the school of thought that believes you can win competitions like the UCL without necessarily being the best that year. A bit of luck here and there, an unexpected fillip & you could be hoisting the big jug.
However, not putting in the needed graft, but relying on luck to win (because it is a knockout competition where you might not necessarily be the best but can still win), would ultimately lead you nowhere. Make no mistakes, it is still a very difficult competition to win.
There’s a reason we haven’t won it yet, despite our standing in global football.
👉 Possession in harmless areas, without any sort of penetration will not win u a football match. Porto occupied the spaces we usually thrive in, closed us down repeatedly & limited us to sideways passing.
We ended up with ZERO shots on target, & for a team that has been scoring goals for fun in recent times, ZERO shots on target should be a very instructive stat.
They obviously studied this Arsenal team, did their homework on us, & when it was crunch time yesterday, they passed in flying colours.
👉 When the draws were originally made several months ago, i mentioned that we had to be careful so as not to get sucker punched. I’m a believer in the concept of never winning matches on paper. Once the requisite graft is not applied on matchday, an apple could suddenly begin to taste like neem.
Many discountenanced Porto, as if they were just there waiting to be trashed home & away, while we march on to the final.
Coming from fans of a team that has been away from the big time for seven years & one that hasn’t tasted the quarters for 14 years, that is quite simply stratospheric braggadocio.
Funny logic indeed!
👉 Now that the unfortunate has happened i’m sure everyone will calm down a bit & understand that this is a team that is still growing & not act like we’re the Harlem globetrotters every single week.
Odegaard has always spoken this season about taking it one game at a time & not getting too far ahead of ourselves, while Arteta has kept on harping on humility and the essence of remaining grounded every week.
I hope some of us take these lessons from those directly involved.
👉 We have an awful UCL record & sometimes in competitions like this, the shadow of history tends to loom large & we need to be careful, if we desire to correct that narrative this time around. It takes one solid season to change the course of history, afterall!
👉This is still a very young & largely inexperienced team (players & coaches) like i always say & i’ll cut them some slack. Arteta took over Arsenal as his first coaching gig & the youngest manager in the league. Carlos Cuesta his assistant is just 28 years old, while the other one is just 31. They’ll keep learning from their experiences & keep making incremental progress till they eventually get it right. It is at this point in time that the veterans in the team like Jorginho are needed to guide the younger players through.
👉 My major concern from last night was the timing of the goal.
A loss to 94th minute goal (basically the last kick of the match) can be quite difficult to get over.
I hope it doesn’t affect us in our game against Newcastle.
👉 I’m glad it was just the first leg & while the defeat was hard to take, it wasn’t a fatal blow. We have always risen from adversity this season & i believe we can do it again in a few weeks.
If we make the necessary improvements upon last night we should have enough to give Porto an uncomfortable night in the return leg at the Emirates & progress to the last eight for the first time in over a decade. That in itself should be enough motivation.
👉 Lastly, despite the result, it was a beautiful experience being able to watch the team i love so passionately being back in the big time. Just listening to the UCL anthem gave me goosebumps. We’ve worked so hard to get here, & i’ll enjoy every moment of it.

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Tags FC Porto v Arsenal


  1. Well it was always going to be an up-hill task away from home, against a superior team, in a competition that’s consistently proven too hard for us.

    That said, the real post-mortem (if needed) begins after the 2nd leg, as it’s only halftime in the tie.

    Part of me can see us beating them at home, the other part of me is well aware that in all three of MA’s European campaigns, we’ve had the 2nd leg at home, and got knocked out everytime. Also, I think we’ve lost our previous 7 or 8 last 16 ties in the CL, so there’s a huge mental block to get over, even if it is a different set of players now.

    I make Porto slight favourites, given they can now just sit back and hit us on the counter with that goal advantage.

    1. @Jen
      This, is where plan B comes into play. Havertz leading the line with long balls over their midfield. Jus sayin…

      1. That’s not a bad shout because he’s good in the air. Hopefully we’ll have more players back for the 2nd leg as well.

    2. JEN, THE BOOKIES, ALL OF THEM , DISAGREE WITH YOU. Check it out if you doubt me!
      So do I, but that must come as no surprise to either of us, as you and I see football matters VERY differently!

      1. I believe in psychology and you don’t, that’s the difference.

        Let me ask you a question. Do you think some football players feel pressure in a game? If you do, why do you think some feel pressure?

        1. I ALREADY TOLD YOU LAST WEEK THAT I DO believe in psychology, in life.


          I simply disagree with your naive view that it spans GENERATIONS of football teams.


          THAT is the foolish , naive mistake in reasoning you continue to make Sigh!

          1. Don’t know why you always use capitals all the time? You need some English lessons.

            Anyway, we’re getting somewhere, because you do agree that some players will at some points feel pressure.

            Now there will be a multitude of reasons why a player will feel pressure in a game, but one of the reasons will be the history of the club, and the situation of the game that player is currently playing in weighing on their shoulders.

            E.g. Lets say a club makes a final, and that club has lost their last 6 finals. Even though it may have been years ago, and its now a different set of players, that will 100% be in the minds of the players and the manager before and during that game.

            When a player steps onto the pitch for Real Madrid, especially in the CL, do you not think their previous history weighs on any players? Knowing anything less than a semi-final place would be abject failure.

            Do you not think what Ferguson achieved at Utd, added some extra pressure onto Moyes who took over from him?

    3. @jen…how many times has city ND liverpool beat us home and away?…well we’ve not lost to either this season yet,and have not lost away in epl to liverpool 2 seasons now…we will overwhelm Porto at home…quite frankly if we keep playing the way we are…sky is the limit

  2. The headine says “Arenal need alessonin humility. Nothinh at allin th actula piece mentions our team needing humility, a splainly we dont ned it as we are ALREADY humble and have been for agreat time already under a fine manage fwho got rid of non humble player s such as Guendouzil Auba and Ozil(who thought he was too big a name to sweat blood for the cause). The headline wrongly insults our team andour manager, by implication.
    It is undoubtedly true however that a number of our FANS were anything but humble before the game and as ever on JA we get a lot of folk who just fel entitled to assume we MUST and WILL win every game we ever play. Football is not like that and most of us , though not all, are well aware of that fact.
    I thought the article was fine and balanced but the misleading headline betrayed it.
    Had it instead said” “SOME Arsenal fans need a lesson in humilty”( but not ARSENAL) then I could not have agreed more.

    1. Thanks for saving me the time, I was going to point out the same. As we know, admin comes up with the titles, not the writer, so not sure what was going on here.

  3. Don’t like the term post-mortem on this one, but am not known for my best practices in English.
    But in my humblest opinion this is the perfect score line the doctor could have ordered, one nil is an extremely tricky score line for a visiting team to defend.

    Arsenal will be thinking , the entire kitchen sink must be thrown at at the Portuguese, it shouldn’t be difficult motivating the highest scoring team in the league to don their shooting boots, am not loosing a minute sleep on this one, surely the 3 : 1 : 3 : 3 formation will be well rehearse by then.

  4. The fans are going to be crucial at home because they will let the referee know that the Porto players are play acting I expect the atmosphere to be electric and that will help push our players on If we take out the dark arts from Porto then they are just a defense-minded side that we will eventually break down, they rely on their tricks

  5. A good read Baron.

    The referee was mentioned in a post above and I was wondering if we get the same officials for the home tie?

    1. Thank you SueP.
      I sincerely hope we do not get the same officials for the second leg. Does it ever happen that way? Just curious!

      I intended mentioning how naive the ref was & how easy it was for the Porto Hollywood actors to come home but i guess it escaped me.

      Looking forward to a victory tonight and an excellent response when Porto comes to town.

  6. That was a tricky away fixture & Porto had indeed done their homework. How they applied their knowledge defending set pieces was however extraordinary & almost impossible to counter. Before most corners they put the ref on alert by initiating pushing & shoving & then when the kick was taken ( & the officials eyes were on the ball) 2 or 3 fell to the ground claiming a foul. Pushing, shoving & holding in the box during set pieces is nothing new but their antics took this tactic to another level & nullified one of Arsenals greatest threats.

  7. What a weird word to use – humility – when describing this match.
    Out thought, outsmarted, outplayed would be more appropriate, as I didn’t see any kind of arrogance whatsoever from the club – maybe some of the fans – who showed respect from the minute the draw was made.

    1. Ken. I was just about to make a similar comment. Who actually has been given this “humility” lesson? Certainly no one at Arsenal overstated our chances against Porto, so I can only assume Baron means us.
      Thanks man, look forward to hearing more from you😜.

    2. Thank you Ken1945.
      My first article on JA, obviously not perfect but i’ll do better moving forward.

      The “humility” headline wasn’t mine though. That should be Admin’s preferred word, & i believe he used it to refer to a section of the Arsenal fanbase, not necessarily the club(players & manager) itself.

      1. It is disappointing that JA turns a fringe perspective into such a headline.
        Most Arsenal fans probably expected us to get something out of the game away at Porto. That is not arrogance.
        There were very few fans expecting us to have an easy away win at Porto.
        Suggesting that a large section of fans and/or players were arrogant before the game is perfidious.

      2. Admin wrote the headline😜? Sorry I was so rude to you. It was a very good article anyway, and I will look forward to others from you.

      3. My apologies Baron – I enjoyed the article, it was the headline I questioned… AdminPat does know how to get responses, that’s for sure.

  8. Psychology works both ways. Porto have yet to score at the Emirates. I know they don’t have to score to win but they will definitely know they have let in 11 goals in 3 matches at the Emirates. If we can score early the pressure will intensify on them. I believe that we will win the tie without resorting to, so called, dark arts.

    1. I don’t think we need to resort to anything, but we need to be calm and understand how to deal with it imo. Just know they’re looking for anything to use against us and don’t give them the opportunity.

  9. The only part I disagree slightly on is the emphasis on zero shots in target – I think that’s been blown out of proportion. We had three decent chances to score that I can remember, two from corners and the trossard volley – despite all going off target, they’re all worth more than a weak shot from 30 yards that the keeper gathers easily (for example). In a tight game, that wasn’t too bad from us.
    Completely agree on the rest – particularly felt the idea of the fans getting a bit overconfident, expecting us to beat this Porto team easily just because we’ve had a few good results recently.

  10. To go from scoring for fun to ZERO shots on goal should be a concern and raise awareness.

    Either tweak tactics, sub players, or plan B, but it was too late or not at all in the last match.

    Now having time to analyze and prepare for Porto, I expect a different approach and performance. Nothing to do with arrogance, but everything to do with adaption and evolution.

    Possession without purpose or end product leads to an illusion of control. Meaning you played into the tactics of the opponents and they actually controlled the game.

    I think we will see a different performance and result in the return leg.

  11. The fans were actually very proud

    Worldwide, a mighty lot of Arsenal fans thought we would win that match by 3,4,5 goals

    We needed that humility
    We couldn’t beat Lens at home
    Why were they too proud to think we would go thrash a Champion at home

    We won Lens 5-0 at the Emirates
    Porto won’t be the same

    Porto is a team that can actually still find a way to beat us at home

    We’re not really heads and shoulders better than them, if we’re not careful we might not qualify

    But I believe we will
    We were on fine form – very fine form when Sporting Lisbon took us out of the Europa

    HELLO Porto is a better team than Sporting Lisbon

    We will not thrash them 5-0 like we did with Lens but if we get our acts together 2-0, 3-1 is possible

  12. There might be a feeling amongst the fans and AFC, that
    the second leg will be a goal fest with us winning by 3-4
    goals ?? MA´s job is to keep things grounded and professional, hopefully everybody will be fresh and raring to go

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