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Arsenal v Porto Preview 26 September, 2006

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News, Champions League.
    Arsenal v Porto

I was only at the Grove on Saturday and now it’s another short trip down to north London again tonight. It’s nice for the fans having two games in such a short space of time but I suspect Wenger isn’t over the moon about it. All our players should be fit in time but there’s a bit of a scare over Ljungberg and Djourou as Arsene announced they missed yesterday’s training session but they should be back in the squad tonight despite this. Wenger also said that Henry is now match fit, so that means Saturday’s performance wasn’t down to fitness. Lets hope he gets more stuck in tonight.

I spoke about how Ashburton Grove was starting to feel like home yesterday and Arsene has also had his say on the matter. He’s been at Highbury for a decade and everyone to do with AFC it’s finding it weird not being at our old home. Arsene says he’s getting used to the new stadium now and is finding familiar places within the ground. As am I.

At Highbury I used to have quite a few superstitions: I used to buy two bags of sweets for a pound from the same stall, I wore my long Arsenal socks and always used to wonder round to the marble halls and watch the team bus come in wherever I was sitting. When we moved to the Grove I wiped the slate clean, the sweet stall had gone by the DB10 game, I couldn’t find the lucky socks and you can no longer watch the team roll off the bus. We still won 2-1 but for the Villa game I wore the socks and we drew so I don’t wear them anymore. You probably think I’m strange, but I am. The only superstition I’ve got so far at the new stadium is to take a picture of my view on my camera phone every match and set it to the wallpaper, every time I do that we seem to score. However I forgot to do it on Saturday and we won 3-0. Something tells me I shouldn’t have any superstitions but I’m sure I’ll get some set in stone over the coming season.

The team tomorrow night should be pretty much unchanged, RVP might come in for Adebayor but I really don’t have a clue if I’m honest. I’d like to see Baptista start, but I don’t know if Wenger feels he’s ready yet; he’s certainly exited by him though:

It is more adaptation to the pace of the game and the movement here – intelligence wise he has no problem, quality wise he is a big player. He is massive and he looks like a boxer. When you see his body, he does not have fat at all. He is muscular and is in the gym every day. He looks after himself and takes care of his body. Once he is on his run, nobody can stop him, with that penetrative power. Once he is running with the ball, you just feel this guy cannot be stopped. He is a killer once he is in front of goal.

Wenger confirming there what a beast he is. I’m sure he’ll get his first start pretty soon, he impresses every time he comes on and makes defences seem non-existent. You can really sum his game play up in his nickname: THE BEAST. There is no doubt anymore that I will get The Beast – 9 on the back of my shirt but I don’t know whether I’m getting a refund or not yet as the Fly Ashburton Grove bit is falling off (anyone else’s doing that? how have you solved it?).

The Beast ploughing through the Sheffield defence

I think Baptista is exactly the sort of player we will need tonight in what will be a tricky, physical tie. Wenger’s not underestimating Porto one bit and I know he’ll field the strongest possible side; hopefully it includes Baptista.

I’ve got to go now, need to be at college at nine A.M!!! Grrr….It’s off to the Grove tonight though, hoping to see a strong Arsenal performance that lets people know our ambitions this year. A match report as always to follow, until then


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