Porto 2-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly

Match Reports

ESPNSoccernet: Below-par Arsenal slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Porto to leave themselves with a tougher path towards Champions League glory.

Telegraph: Arsenal’s inability to raise their game in matches they are expected to win manifested itself in Portugal on Wednesday night. And the defeat means that Arsene Wenger’s side, previously unbeaten in Europe and having beaten Porto 4-0 at home, finished as runners-up to the Portuguese, a point behind.

Quote of the Day:

We have seen our weaknesses from when we were in a position where we had to come out at the back and put them under pressure, because we lost balls where you cannot afford to lose balls and we were in trouble.

In the last 20 minutes, they were dangerous every time we lost the ball and we were not effective enough up front. — Arsene Wenger

The Good

…uhhh, well, no one booed Eboue, I think. I guess he even went over to the traveling fans and threw them his shirt, revealing an undershirt that said “Our God is Great.” Ugh, he’s a religious fanatic too?

This match was just so poor that the best thing was how the team played the kickoff directly to Eboue (which he turned over). YAY! It was like when you find out that your favorite puppy at the pound didn’t get put under.

Djourou looked good too, if I had to pick, he would have been Arsenal’s man of the match. But I don’t want to pick him because I’m afraid you’ll all Senderos him.

The Bad

I feel horrible for the fans who had to travel to Portugal, pay for the match, put up with being searched, the lack of beer, and all the other hassels to see Arsene Wenger field a Carling Cup team. They should get some kind of discount, at least on the ticket price. I mean Mark fucking Randall played, this is a player who is barely ready to play in the Carling Cup and you’re going to throw him on in a Champions League match???


Arsene Wenger went to Portugal with the idea that he was going to rest his stars and get some experience for his youth players because this game didn’t matter. Well, I hope that the 4,000 traveling fans at least had a nice night out in Portugal (as T-Town Alex pointed out) there must be some great seafood there and we all know about their famous fortified wine.

Second, this performance should finally put to bed the notion that the Carling Cup kids are ready for the rigors of a full campaign. Please stop, I can hear you typing out a response about what a cocksandwich I am for attacking the Young Ones. I’m not attacking them. I love them. Their touch is just incredible: at times it’s like having 10 Ibrahimovich’s on the pitch. But they aren’t ready and there’s nothing wrong with that. Wilshere’s only 16 for God’s sake!

The Ugly

Which should I pick?  There were so many things that were ugly: the first goal, the fact that Arsenal only had 3 shots on goal, the way the team gave up, or Wenger’s insistence that they just needed to keep more posession?

Let’s start with the fact that Arsenal still have no clue how to defend the dead ball. Last night, Alves traipsed into the Arsenal defense, rose into the air unchallenged, and placed the ball into the net. It looked like a training ground exercise. Diaby was there, gazing up in awe at Alves’ magnifiicence, but I couldn’t tell who was supposed to be marking Alves. Whoever it was, Diaby certainly couldn’t be arsed to fucking head the ball away.

Or how about this one: Arsenal had 58% of the possession and 31% of the shots. How does a team with such a clear ability to keep the ball, manage just 3 meagre shots on goal: 1 shot per 30 minutes??? What are we Sheffield United all the sudden? Someone needs to remind them that the point of the game is to score goals and not just to pass the ball around. In fact, it’s getting to the point where all this passing is not as beautiful to me as it once was. Maybe I’m just angry right now, but I’m sick and tired of all these “slick moves” and “great balls” that lead to nothing.

But hey, according to Wenger, they just needed MORE posession. Not more goals, or even more shots, MORE POSESSION.

Final Thoughts

Arsenal play ‘Boro on Saturday and it looks like we’ll get back the first team. Maybe The Dutch Chocolate can unleash a barrage of right footed shots and by “barrage” I mean 2, it would be 66% of the shots that Arsenal managed to put on goal last night.

Next up in the Champions League is one of these five:

AS Roma
FC Barcelona
Bayern Munich

And since we only managed 2nd place, we have to play the first leg at home. I have a bad feeling that we are going to get Barcelona. We’ll see I guess.


9 Responses to “Porto 2-0 Arsenal; the Good, Bad, and Ugly”

  1. 1 barnaby
    December 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    It’s not really an issue but the game revealed that the youngsters(diaby incl.) are too young still for the big stage(shrinking violets with poss exception ramsey). With a deeper squad I would have expected better but not with the team we fielded. Would be great to pick up Alex from chels and deny him going to city, and chels probably prefer he comes to us and not city who will likey buy the cream of any available crop in Jan, incl. villa. Well, it’s a big ask for wenger to take any action in the jan transfer window, but if the game against porto showed anything, it’s that we’re not a deep team by any reasonable definition – take off a handful of our starters and we drop in quality like a rock.

  2. 2 barnaby
    December 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I thought Eboue was fine in this game, would love to see rvp at right back though, maybe if eboue and sagna are both injured wenger might try it?

  3. December 11, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Robin van Persie at Right Back?


    Thanks, that made my day.

  4. 4 barnaby
    December 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

    cheers mate, til next time.

  5. 5 Donald FR
    December 11, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I hope the Gunners get Barca. At least we can watch some great football–what Arsenal SHOULD BE if we get the right players.
    Or Juve, because we use to beat them, and they dont have much bite..
    The worst is Bayern Munich–which I am afraid we will get–tall opportunistic strikers, high balls and physical power…

    I believe Arse will be 4th this season, because Villa is simply not good enough to displace The Gunners. Hopefully, we can get the FA Cup run going…
    This team is not good enough.

  6. 6 WC
    December 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    I’m not surprised we lost though I hoped for a draw. A win would have been a pleasant surprise but I wasn’t counting on it. I’m not terribly worried because second place isn’t bad considering who the first place teams are. Most of the top teams are pretty unimpressive and very beatable even given our current form. Barca is on form now but could as well slump to their early season form anytime soon. We all know teams are cyclical like this – they hit form for a while going on a winning streak and then slump into a period of possible losses, undeserved wins or disappointing draws. In fact there’s probably some “favorites” in second place spots than there are in first – Inter for example are top in their league by a decent margin and will most likely collect their 4th Scudetto but are not top of their European table and have lost to terrible opposition since the season started. If you look at the possibilities one by one and really look at their track record this season you would know on any given day The Arsenal could bury them under 3 goals. The Round of 16 is a while away and in that time there can be massive changes in injuries, form, transfers, fitness etc

  7. 7 T-town Alex
    December 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    For the sake of winning: You’d probably want Roma or Juventus.
    For the sake of watching the most entertaining match: You’d want Bayern or Barca.
    The most boring outcome would be Panathinaikos. Plus I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat us.
    I would personally want to watch Ribery. Although the prospect of him running laps around our mediocre defense is scary.

  8. 8 iamkalive
    December 11, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    poor performance again. i like to make note on a stat..the accurate vs bad passes stat. we made 146 more passes than porto. that is about half of porto’s total passes. yet at the same time we made 4:1 which is accurate to bad pass ratio compared to portos which looks like 8:1 accurate to bad pass ratio. arsenal are making 2 times the amount of bad passes, while only making about 1.5 times the amount of passes. that is not too good. we should be making a lot less passes, but make them quality passes (fabregas like).

    i mean the football looks nice, sexy, fast, flowing, but if we are making more mistakes than the other team is, it is useless. the passing doesnt even seem to flow like it used to anymore. it just seems like a bunch of unnecssary passes going on..lots of energy and quality is being wasted. we are not being efficient. we are wasting lots of chances and opportunities. wenger is a smart, economical business man. he should understand when something is efficient or not. arsneal are not efficient.

    look at chelsea. they play decent football.but they make these quality passes that turn other teams on their heels while creating glorious scoring chances. and they score lots,hence the high scores.
    arsenal make tons of passes..lots of them horizontal from flank to flank (courtesy denilson). these passes are useless.yes it switches the sides and we start from there..and even then, we dont penetrate unless fabregas or nari make an amazing pass sending van p or ade, or walcott on a run..besides that.we get to the top of the 18 and we are stuck! we do not have that deadly counter attack anymore.. all these passes are for nothing.just easy on the eyes..

    i have back checked all the games until novemeber and this is what i got for passing ratios..

    accurate passes : bad passes
    ars v porto losss
    4:1 8:1

    ars v wgian win
    10:1 7:1

    ars v che
    4:1 7:1 win

    ars v kiev
    5:1 4:1 draw

    ars v man city
    5:1 8:1 loss

    ars v av
    8:1 4:1 loss

    ars v manu
    4:1 5:1 win

    i would think that anything under worst than a 6:1 (ie 5:1 4:1, 3:1..) is bad, in my opinion. why make more passes if your gonna make more mistakes in proportion…
    just an observation..

  9. 9 T-town Alex
    December 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    to iamkalive:
    Man, that is one hard-core analysis you posted! Nice one…

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