What do you think went wrong for Arsenal against FC Porto?

What went wrong against FC Porto

Arsenal faced off against FC Porto away in Portugal for the first game of the round of 16 in The Champions League last night and walked away losers after a 1-0 loss and a late winner from Galeno in the dying minutes of extra time. A very disappointing loss for the Gunners after being on a 5 game winning streak and had recently been looking at their very best. Here’s a rundown of what I think went wrong and what we should have done differently.

For the start of the game Arsenal looked to lack a lot of urgency and unlike recent games, we didn’t look fluid or ready to go. Arsenal are the type of team that show you very early what type of game were going to see and it looked shaky from the get-go. We had no fire in our belly’s and after an early yellow card to Declan Rice, it stunted his play, and against a team like Porto who dominate and love to play through the midfield. It was an early issue we really didn’t need. He will now have to play a very restricted game at home, being a yellow card away from missing the next round.

Arsenal failed to get a shot on target for the first time in 2 years and looked a shell of the team we’ve seen recently. Credit to Porto because they played to their strengths and made it very hard for us to create chances and were good at constricting our play. The game was very physical, with a big number of 36 fouls throughout the game.

For me, the selection was wrong and Jorginho should have started the match in the middle, giving us more stability and experience to draw from. Having both Havertz and Trossard on at the same time, makes sense against “lower league” sides but it didn’t seem to have the same effect against Porto, with Trossard being the most restricted I’d seen him in an Arsenal shirt. Arteta only made one change which makes me question the depth we had going into the game and with plenty on the bench, I’m not sure why he only made one substitute throughout the game.

As the game went on and the minutes started to dwindle, we looked like we were happy to go home with a draw and the lack of urgency going forward was a key factor to why I think they scored and we switched off. We’ve left ourselves with a lot to do at home and with a clear plan of how to play against us, Porto are in the driving seat.

Hopefully we can bounce back in three weeks’ time and bring a fuller squad to the table, with plenty of big names missing, hopefully we can start to bring them all back in the next few weeks.

What’s your thoughts Gooners? What went wrong for you?

Daisy Mae

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  1. We seemed okay with a draw but Rice and Raya fell asleep at the end I think Porto did a good job of marking our midfielders and only pressed certain players they let Gabriel and Saliba see a lot of the ball but once it was moved into midfield they were on top of us But I thought the ref was poor in giving fouls for every bit of contact which made the game scrappy stop-start kinda affair It wasn’t a dirty game And he shouldn’t yellow card the first mistimed challenge I forgot how annoying in Europe the refs can be and how opponents make the most of it That said we didn’t deserve to win this game it was probably a fair result considering our efforts vs theirs We lost the midfield battle couldn’t really battle actually because they kept dropping to the floor Hopefully next we get a ref that realizes it’s a contact sport and players are supposed to tussle for the ball

    1. Can’t blame referee. It just that we always have difficulty facing team with tight and disciplined organization. Just see the example of Newcastle, Astonvilla, Brentford and etc against whom our creativity just seemed to deprive away. We just have to learn to deal with these kind of games.

  2. Many reasons for our poor performance on the night.

    It was blatently obvious how the psychological aspect of Arsenal’s terrible CL past affected our players. They, and MA were well aware of our consistent failures in the last 16, and with that, the pressure of trying to get that monkey off their back.

    Huge lack of CL experience in our squad, including the coaching staff.

    Porto are the bigger of the two clubs in terms of European statue and success, and are season CL campaigners.

    Credit to Porto who really got their tactics spot on. They completely nulafied us.

    Once you view Arsenal in European competition through a different lens, it’s easier to understand the defeat. Arsenal’s entire history in European competition is rubbish! Even worse when you consider our tremendous domestic.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Arsenal may be the only so called “big club” left that hasn’t cracked Europe. Even in comparison against our British counterparts successes in Europe, Arsenal do not even rank in the top ten!

    Of course records are there to be broken, and it’s up to MA to do that (which I’m not sure he can), but for the moment, we have to accept that Arsenal are not, and have never been a team to fear in Europe. Forget the likes of Milan, Liverpool, Real etc, we’re not even in the same stratosphere as a club like Sevilla on the European stage.

    Arsenal are huge globally, but certainly not because of our results in Europe. I consider us more like minnows in European competition, with the EL semi final being about our level.

    Obviously I always have hope, and I’m disappointed with the performance, but am I suprised?…Not in the slightest.

    1. You can’t say Arsenal.players have a psychological issue re CL and in the same post confirm how inexperienced they are. They don’t have any psychological baggage because other than Havertz none of them have played in the CL before. !

      For once maybe give credit to Portp who rarely lose at home and were well prepared. Lets see how the players respond in the return match as this is all part of their learning and experience

      We forget Arsenal are 2nd youngest in the league !

      1. JEN and her wrong headed suggestion that our young team are likely to repeat results from previous era teams,for psychological reasons, is speaking nonsense.

        And those who unthinkingly agree with her daft point are lacking a cerain intellect, plainly.

        It is not possible for different era teams to have the same result EXCEPT by their OWN performance , which OBVIOUSLY,at least to thinkers, has NO connection to any previous era team.

        How could it possibly do so, as they are entirely different players in teams playing different opponents. Thankfully, YOU at least, have the nous to see that half baked theory as the junk it is!

        1. I was about to write a comment and then read yours,, which starts with nonsense, which is the exact same word I was planning to use. So in certain terms, Jen this is nonsense because we have witnessed the same performance from our team this season against so called weaker opponents, such as Lens, Newcastle, Villa, West ham and Fulham! It’s about the performance on the day and simply put, Porto where the better team on the day. Come 2nd leg, I hope we have learned the most important lesson from our last game, that we should out compete our opponents, individually winning every battle, whether that’s through skill, stamina, strategy, tactics, street smarts or dark arts. At the Emirates, it will be a different story, our crowd, our yard and here we are the BIG DOG! Come on Arsenal!♥️🤍

    2. Echo every word u said; no matter HOW MA or Arsenal dress it up, r European record is absolutely embarrassing, even when the gr8s of Adams, Henry, Bergkamp etc were there. If by some absolute miracle, we make it through the las 16, we’ll probably get ‘turned over’ but next opponents in 1/4s.
      Not being a defeatist (honestly) but I always look t the Champas with dread f us as i veiw us as the PSG of the CL, who stand as much chance of( currently), being serious CL Challengers as say, a Sheffield Utd…its nonexistent at mo.’

  3. Firstly, I think it’s fair to give credit to Porto. They had a game plan and executed it well. Thus the result is not only about what went wrong for Arsenal, but also what Porto got right to limit Arsenal. They blocked the middle of the pitch, which forced Arsenal wide most of the times. Their defending in wide areas was excellent which meant Arsenal could not create chances from the wing either. It was a composed defensive performance from Porto.

    Secondly,I agree with Daisy that Jorginho should have probably started over Trossard or at the very least come on at half time. With Porto blocking off the Central areas,our best chance of beating them would have been going over them because we couldn’t get through them or around them. Jorginho is has the ability to play the ball over the top for our wingers to chase behind the Porto defence or aim at Havertz to hold it up and link up with the others.

    There were mistakes by individual players as well throughout the game, some of which led to the goal. Martinelli giving the ball away,Rice not closing down the goal scorer and Raya’s questionable positioning. Saliba uncharacteristically lacked composure too.Martinelli and Trossard gave the ball away on occasion. Maybe they were fatigued? Or was it inexperience? Mentality?Fear? I don’t know.We could have used the likes of Jesus,Zinchenko,Partey and Tomiyasu for sure.

    Finally,it has to be said that the refereeing was disappointing. Our players were physical no doubt but I felt like Porto players went down too easily and the referee bought it every time. It meant that we couldn’t get into rhythm with the stop-start nature of the game. It also meant that we couldn’t use one of our biggest strengths which is set-pieces because our opponents kept going down. That said, I feel like we didn’t vary our conners as we usually do-it got so predictable. Also, was there a problem with the playing surface?

    The home game should be better because we will have players back. I believe the home crowd will also not tolerate the frequent going down of Porto players. Arteta and the players will also have learnt lessons from this game. It’s better learning from Porto than a Bayern for instance.

  4. Two things were exposed
    1.In adequate squad depth to compete in more than one cup.
    2.In experience both on our players and Arteta.
    We have no chance in the champions league if all of Zinchenko, Gabriel J,Partey Jorginho and Timber won’t be playing.
    C.L is on another level and Porto is among the weakest opponents will be facing.If we can’t beat them, we have no business being in that competition .

  5. Maybe we should blame Arteta ball. It fails regularly in knock out situations?
    And its not a knee jerk reaction, some of us have been saying the way we play, is flawed under pressure.

  6. We do have a great record against Porto at the Emirates: Played 3 won three, goals for 11, goals against 0. We overturned a 2-0 away defeat by winning 5-0 at the Emirates. Maybe the pressure is on Porto?

  7. No stress guys! We will go through them maybe this experience will help us.

    The trophy is coming home to Emirates !!!

    Remember you heard it here first😂

  8. Porto knew they couldn’t fight fire with fire against Arsenal. Arsenal would have blown them away.
    So they niggled, they fouled, they disrupted. And they won.
    Before the game I have my fears that Arteta and his Boys might show a bit inexperience of playing knock out in UCL. There is a dark art of playing at this stage. You may have to sacrifice a bit possession and be efficient to get results. A calmness at last minutes to scale through hurdles. This calmness Matinelli in particular lacked and then a back to back lose of the ball.
    If lessons are learnt, we have more than enough in our amoury to win second leg convincingly.

    1. I completely agree with you apart from singling out Martinelli, in the cold light of day, there where individual duals across the whole pitch that where lost. It’s a collective responsibility and as much as I singled out Raya myself, straight after the game, there where other players as well, that where off form or lapsed concentration. A goal down is not the end of the world, this is not a tough nut to crack when you consider the kind of performances, you’ve seen from us this season, let alone last season!

  9. I couldn’t believe how the Sky Sports commentators were pitching us as third favourites behind City and Real Madrid. The game last night showed that even Porto are probably more likely than we are to progress in terms of performance and attitude. Porto played a fantastic game that suited them and stopped us. We played in a way that we’ve all seen before. Labored, predictable and morenoften than not, slow in the build up. How can this type of football cause pundits to believe we are likely to continue into the semi-final places? Get real! Arsenal need to address the issues quickly and these issues are nothing new!

  10. Here is what I think about the goal we conceded: Our guys had already switched off; they were expecting the final whistle. Then Raya is always positioned a bit too much off the line. When opponents see this, they are attracted to try and try they did. So Mudrike tried and yesterday the Porto player tried. It turned out to be fantastic strikes and in the end Raya would not have been able stop it no matter where he was positioned.

  11. some good balanced analysis and opinion here – I’m impressed JA!

    and credit to Porto, they had a plan and executed it

    e.g. frustrated us on the corners and set pieces

    e.g. they allowed some to have possession but pressed others

    e.g. they slowed the game down and made it stop-start

    e.g. inevitable fouls and rolling around

    while frustrating and annoying it was effective, and fair play to them

    from an Arsenal perspective just trying the same thing over and over and over again when clearly not working

    associated with that not using our subs

    almost seemed like Arteta settled for a draw with 15 minutes to go

    could have made 4 subs to totally change it up

    instead a sloppy switch off at the back and we are one nil down (was a superb bending strike though!)

    so congrats JA for not going on and on and on about Havertz and/or Ivan Toney for a change

    1. Maybe we could have subbed Trossard for Jorginho to sit where Rice sits, in front of the defence, pushed Havertz and Rice up front and gone long ball. A la Sam Allardyce. Anything but thinking leaving everything the same and expecting a different result, after 60-70 minutes. We should have made some attacking substitutions and shook it up a bit, introduced some unpredictability. Sitting in our hands and doing nothing don’t panic out that well, right? What do I know. I’m signing off now, my armchair management career has hit a new low, copying big Sam! 😞

    1. We’ve lost to them twice before, 2008/2009 we lost 2-0 but let’s put that in context, we won 4-0 in the previous match when we where at home. In 2009/2010 we lost 2-1 but then smacked them 5-0 in the return leg. Forget history, means nothing, it’s about today and now. Different game, team and manager. We got this, trust the process ♥️🤍

  12. Some major overreactions to a small blip going on today. Before last night we had won 5 games straight. We beat Liverpool 3-1 West Ham 6-0 and put 5 past Burnley. Winning 5 out of every 6 games would more often than not win you a trophy a season. The atmosphere was daunting last night to say the least and the mounted pressure on the team didn’t help either. Yes it wasn’t an ideal result but the fact we are down to the barebones squad wise I feel we should give the boys a pass on this one.If we go out of the champions league against Porto then questions should be asked however I can only envision us thumping them at home.

  13. I honestly can’t see what all the fuss is about
    Yes we lost but I didn’t see anything from the game to scare us in the 2nd leg
    This leg was.not about inexperiance either players or managers .
    We made them look good by not concentrating at key times
    Giving sloppy lose balls away when we should have retained it
    We might not go trough after the next round or we might go through but the 2nd leg of this tie will be done and dusted by the end of the 1st half

    Porto have there own domestic concerns to deal with like playing benfica before they come to the Emirates
    Keep the faith
    Onwards and upwards

  14. AB – so not having one shot on goal, not bringing on the subs, not going for the experienced player in Jorginho, losing the midfield battle was nothing to worry about?
    OK my friend, now tell me what Porto saw that THEY have to be worried about?

    1. ken1945

      Why are Arsenal fans in a meltdown? We will beat Porto hands down in the second leg. This reminds me of a certain Lens team that beat us in France and received a thumping af the Emirates

      Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise to lose in that painful way. I believe it will motivate the boys for a revenge like the West Ham and Lens matches

      And by the way, if Arteta had started Jorginho and we lost, the same Arsenal fans would still have blamed the manager

      1. We’re not in meltdown Freddy, we’re questioning the tactics and mindset of the manager and players.
        Porto we’re deemed one of the “weaker” teams left in the CL, along with Copenhagen.
        We saw how city played and got the result they needed against Copenhagen, while we didn’t have one shot on target against Porto.
        I believe we will beat them at the Emirates, but it’s not going to be easy, as was patently obvious in the first leg.
        Meltdown and constructive questioning / criticism are two entirely different things.

    2. Ken
      I honestly think they fear us more then we fear them for the return leg
      Don’t get.me wrong they haven’t got where they are without having quality in the team but they are no where the team they where a fee seasons back
      I stand by what I said and the game Will be done by the end of the first half and we will manage the 2nd half and be in the draw for the next round

      1. Agree with both you and Ken here. I don’t see any meltdown, just a bunch of fans trying to work out what when wrong the other night, from a lay perspective. Freddie, It’s all opinion, no right or wrong, just debate but you are right, it could be a blessing in disguise and the type of motivation needed, to whack them hard at the Emirates, making a statement in Europe. We have arrived, watch out, we’re not here just to make up the numbers. Our eye is on the prize! 🏆

  15. Lack of CL experience, Arsenal’s history in the competition, and being away at Porto put lots of pressure on the players.

  16. The manager Mr MA must learn when to replace tired players Arsenal have more than 30 players yet we don’t have confidence in substitution. How can we make only one????????? +

  17. I still believe in AFC wining the second leg if MA gets his tactics right. The manager has again displayed that he is a greenhorn when it comes to European nights. Utilizing the bench will be something that he should learn to do.

  18. He watched Porto make 5 changes while we made only 1, and someone is blaming players for being tired and switching off. If Nelson, Nketiah & ESR can’t play as substitute against Porto, is it against Real and Co they will play?
    I worry about burnout in our next game.

  19. When Ma wins people praise him, when he loses people ridicule him…
    Porto are no pushover in Europe competition, support the manager while his here with us.
    Upward we go gunners, MA will take us through at home march 12.

  20. Kudos to porto for implementing a game plan that works in thier favor.
    There is actually no need for this meltdown in our fan base until after the second leg if we dont go through.
    People talking about champions league experience as if that alone would have made Arsenal won thie match easily, but let me remind u all of Manchester United as an example of a team with so much history and experience in the champions league but are no where to be found. Thats to say in football stuffs like this happens atimes.
    I strongly believe we will qualidy for the next round after the second leg and all these talk of inexperience will not be heard there after.
    For now focus should be on the Newcastle game as we hope to get the 3points while we begin to reintegrate returning players to the starting 11.

  21. Porto excited their tactics better than us, and got a result.

    We underperformed as a squad, and my concerns were;
    1. Changes not made soon enough in tactics or personnel
    2. No shots on goal.

    I expect a different level and performance when we meet again, and similar tactics should not stump us or questions will be asked.

  22. I have to say that I DO NOT for a momenr accept as truth, thr authors premise that” things went wrong ” for us. Yes, we lost th gamein th last moments, and no sensible fan will eve r say that is what we wanted P[lainly we did not. But CONTEXT is everything to NON hype merchantsmas I and some others are, despite the torrent of OTT nonsense written by MOST on here so far.
    We controlled the game for almost all of the game, but as MA said, we were far too cautious and made few REAL chances, if any at all.

    But CONTEXT shows those discerning fans among us that we are EASILY the better sideand with a full Emirates to back us, a win in the TIE, which is what MATTERS, is not only possible, but highly probable.

    And that will mean we are in the CL quarter finals for the first time in around approx 14 years . Quite and achievement for a young team and a so called “rookie” manager.

    How one can still be called a “rookie” after four and a bit years at a top club , preceded by three and a half as Peps direct asistant, I leave to be decided by those very few indeed foolish fans, who EVEN NOW, still call MA a”rookie”.
    Discerning analytical intelligence and the gift of CONTEXT, PLAINLY are not given to all on JA!

    1. Yep, even though Arteta is lacking in champions league experience, as a manger when compared to Mourinhi, Ancelotti etc., experience in my opinion is overrated. If experience was more important than knowledge, graduates would never get a job, managers would not win trophies for the first time and the human race would be stuck in limbo never advancing. It’s only because of the free thinkers, the square pegs in the round holes, the misfits and misunderstood that we’ve ever progresses as a species and Arteta is no different. Yes he’d young, he’s got new ideas and we are sometimes struggle to make sense but none of us can deny, how far he’s bought the club forward from where we where when he took over. I for one am very happy in what we’ve achieved and proud that we have a young, exciting, inexperienced squad that is trying to push the boundaries of what traditionally could be achieved, by more experienced teams (Man U aside, still remember the now embarrassed Hanson, stating “you can’t win anything with kids”).

      Experience or not, it’s about is and we can play better, we’ve all seen it. We can match anyone on their day.

      I’m not dreaming right, we did beat Man City 1-0 at home this season?

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