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Mikel Arteta delivered a pretty sober press conference before our first Champions League last 16 in 7 years. He paid respect to Porto as a team, as a historic club, and as a competitor. It was pretty clear that he is very much aware this young team could take the game lightly and find themselves in a tough return home leg.

The most important strategem for an away leg first game: Don’t lose.

Pep G always talks up the banana skin of a first-leg Champions League game in the last 16. It’s there to sucker the complacent. We simply cannot take them lightly. We don’t have the best record against Portuguese sides, and we have to be real: If we go out, it will be a disaster from a PR perspective. No one wants to be talking about less games if that happens because we’re out of the Champions League.

The preparation couldn’t be better. We’re the hottest team in Europe by some margin. We’re scoring goals, we’re defending like demons, and all the work from earlier in the season is finally bearing fruit on the pitch.

Our football is good enough to get us to the semi-finals this season. But hey, so were the Wenger teams of the early 2000s. But we never got to grips with the competition. I don’t want there to be a learning curve in the knock-out stages. I’d love to see us embrace our youthful fearlessness and just decide that we can own this from day one. That doesn’t mean we need to win, but if we can get to a semi-finals, you can basically do anything. Pep has the record for semis. I don’t want the record, but I want Arsenal to impose themselves on Europe and be feared.

The best way to get that fear factor is to dispatch teams like Porto with limited drama.

These games might be slower than Premier League equivalents. We have 180 minutes to win the game, so being 0-0 after 65 minutes is fine. Not exploding on Porto is also fine. Patience is a virtue and the best teams historically in this competition are good at that. Milan back in the day were outrageously patient, they almost enjoyed naive teams thinking they were on the backfoot. Barcelona at their best weren’t patient, but they were extremely tactical and thoughtful. It wasn’t all glitz and glam. Champions League is played at a high level, but so many games are absolute dog fights. Just look at that Mourinho Inter side that shit-housed Barcelona in the semis against all the odds. The performance was DISGUSTING. But a masterclass in underdog spirit.

The Champions League is where we want to be whoever the opponent… this is the big time… this is what we’ve been begging for for 20 years. A competitive team, to be taken seriously, with an actual chance.

People said we were spoilt under peak Wenger. We were, but we were middle-class spoilt. 2 pairs of Air Jordan’s spoilt. Maybe ‘I’m on dad’s BMW insurance’ spoiled. But we weren’t billionaire nepo baby spoiled. I want to be Audemars Piguet spoilt. I want ‘roll the Ferrari into the pool to impress my friends’ levels of spoilt. I don’t want to be accountable for my bad decisions… and that, for me, is having a team that can actually win the Champions League every year.

There wasn’t too much excitement in the team news. Fabio Vieira was the main point of conversation for the Portuguese media. This was a signing driven by Arteta and he’s arguably the only player in the squad with mega doubts over his future. His fan favorability rating is well below 50%, but people forget, he’s still a baby, and he has 2 goals and 4 assists in 507 minutes of football. There’s a player in there somewhere, so it’ll be interesting to see if Arteta can find it.

There was also a bit of drama with regards to Jurgen Klopp purring over Sambi Lokonga. The Belgian is living up to his rep as a top-up-and-coming talent. He’s now disciplined and brave, and he’s making a difference at a very underfunded team. Klopp commented that he was on loan and he found that ‘interesting.’ That sent fans into a spin – and had many questioning their opinions of him.

  • Were we too harsh?
  • Was Arteta wrong?
  • Could he make it at Arsenal?

All of these questions are correct… and the sign of a great loan.

These are ‘keep’ indicators to fans. But they are also ‘sell’ signals if you are sitting in Edu’s seat.

So what should he do?

Sell when the rep is rehabbed. Folarin Balogun is a prime example, fans were falling over themselves to keep him, he’s gone to Monaco for a huge fee, and he’s been ok.

We need to sell at the top. Not when we’ve realised the player probably won’t break into the starting 11. Why? Because then Arteta freezes him out, pulls a face at him in a game he’s given him 3 minutes, then he tells the press the player isn’t living up to the foggin standards.

I expect him to leave in the summer for a good fee and I suspect the same will happen with Nuno who is showing his worth at Forest.

We all have to face up to the new Arsenal reality – we are going to sell players that are very good because we are very, very good.

Right, that’s me done.

Enjoy the game.

We’ll be going On The Whistle after via Patreon. If you want it right after, sign up below. If not, this one will go out the day after.

Ok, comment section should be finished by the time America wakes up. Hope you like it.

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To be fair Porto played a high line squeezed the length of the pitch and hardly have any space between midfield and defensive line. There was plenty of space behind their defensive line. We didn’t make runs and just passed a lot sidewards. Bet after the winter break Saliba had the highest touch this match. They had better chances as well.


No away goals is why we were set up the way we were. Quite a negative plan that would have been different if that rule was still active.

Of course, it’s all forgiven so long as we get the job done in the second leg.

First step was a misstep.


AFC were in total control. Yes, Porto should have scored early, but they did not come to play and the game should have ended in a well deserved draw. The Porto team was set up to stop the flow through the middle, take fouls on AFC on the counter, and nick a goal. To give up a naive goal like that with 30 seconds to goal is infuriating. Does Mike not work with team on a two minute drill? Just foul the bloke and be done with it or long ball it to the corners. This type of losing is… Read more »


Was watching the match on tnt and the arrogance of some of our fans is embarrassing. In the build up their cameras Followed a group travelling to Porto and they were giving it large saying we would win 4 0. They fucking looked stupid at full time didn’t they. Twats! Martinelli was shocking today. Where was the courage and pace he shows in the league?? He was easily shackled by their full back and makes it worse by fucking giving the ball away in the last few seconds and they take advantage and go and score. So pissed off as… Read more »



“We didn’t have an incentive to win today.”

I normally like your posts but how is this a serious comment? Going through to quarterfinals without having to play the return game with a knife on our throat isn’t incentive enough?

Anyone who doesn’t feel incentivized to win in a CL knockout game has no business being on a football pitch.


For Porto, 1-0 is a lot more workable that 0-0
Let’s stop all the day BS we-will-win-at-home
It doesn’t work that way in the CL, if we don’t score early on March 12 then the nerves will kick in, the groans from the home fans will come back and who knows.The pressure is on us.

This unabashed confidence of we-will beat-them at the Emirates is similar to to ridiculous overconfidence many of our fans carried to this game.You would have thought we were playing Burnley again.


lol what are you guys talking about? It was closer to 2 0 that 1 1. If we don’t score 2 in first 30 min it will be absolutely squeaky bum time lol. They are absolutely shamefull with faking fauls but Barca real city does it too all the time.
They absolutely outsmarted us with wastly inferior team including 69 yo Pepe.
It will be hard second leg 95%


lol no incentive to win away .
Embarrassing take.
2 0 away win tonight and it would be tie done and feel good factor foe Orsc on the weekend.


I have a horrible feeling we are in for another PSV 2007 type elimination.

Porto will play the same in the 2nd leg as they did tonight. It’s absolutely dreadful ‘football’ but effective for them.

We’ll need an early goal (or two) otherwise it’s likely to be a long and uncomfortable evening. Amazing how the wind can get knocked out of your sails so quickly.


Gotta say the people who come out to bat after a defeat or a poor performance are absolutely shameful. It’s so obvious what they’re doing and why and look it’s okay to criticize them after a shit performance it doesn’t mean that the manager should be sacked.

But he was shit tonight. Garbage performance and he made one sub…make it make sense.

Guns of SF

we can do it at home. I think late goal to seal it. 1 nil



Arteta is responsible for the performance. He sets the team up. But to be fair to him, did you see that bench? Not like he had a lot to pick from.


Fkn 95 mins of pathetic….need to rip them
a new one next time


Hand out the BAFTAs for some of Porto dives ffs


When we are slow we are rarely productive when our buildup is fast we often are productive…nothing about Porto, all about our slow, slow methodical buildup before giving the ball away


Don’t really mind the result. Personally I prefer to win the PL. We don’t have the squad to compete in 2 competitions so it I don’t really care at which stage of the CL we drop out, the only other alternative to it is that we compete in the PL.

If we fatigue our players trying to compete in both competitions then we may fall short and end up with nothing again.

Nigel Tufnel

Argooner, What had me furious even early in the game was that it wasn’t even normal diving. At least Jesus gets kicked when he falls down whether in the box or midfield, and we admit that he’s theatrical. —- these scum would be trapped, about to lose the ball in dangerous areas, and just fall down and get bailed out….. It was happening all throughout…… All Those corners we earned,, how many got blown dead as the ball was coming in because their player would fall down,, and then you would see on the replay that our players did nothing… Read more »

Nigel Tufnel

I forgot to mention, the ref was a moron to not see through the faking. As bad as English refs are, they are much wiser than that.

Thierry Martinelli

I’m surprised we couldn’t change our corner kicks after seeing what Porto were doing.


Second time a Portugese team has a lucky strike at goal and destroys a European campaign. Concentration is key for these matches. Error may not prove consequential but errors will be punished as competition improves.


Didn’t see the game. How did we manage to fuck this up ? How did they stifle our attacks ? Did we change our in game strategy in response to their tactics ? Did we change our personnel ?


Can’t believe we lost that game in basically the last minute. None of the players showed their quality and yes we have a home leg to turn it around, but why make it so difficult for ourselves. If we get knocked out in the first round of the Champions League it’s an absolute disgrace.

Arteta talks a big game and has been backed significantly, if he bottles it against freaking Porto…..


Our captain only performs against Burnley and against Westham after we have scored setpiece goals.


I think the pattern is very clear. When we pass the ball from defence to forwards fast then our football is attractive and we batter the opposition. If our football is slow ponderous and takes extra passes to reach forwards it’s dreadful to watch. Saliba and Gaby having more passes testifies to that. But in this game I think Porto stifled us by squeezing the pitch. I would say Porto tactically played the game thue wanted. Thier pressing was brilliant as well.


We made the fatal error of trying to win the game in the last couple of minutes instead of being happy with what we had.
Taking risks and losing the ball (3 times)in time added on was a schoolboy error and it may have cost us the tie as Porto will try every trick in the book to frustrate us in the 2nd leg..


Theres 2 negative votes on my post, my goal is to have the most negative votes, keep em coming


Well, I was incredibly wrong.


Two things stood out. Porto played a high line and we didn’t run in behind them nor a single.pass was attempted from defence to forwards beyond the defensive line. Our forwards also didn’t run the channels. The reason Ode was not effective is that there was nos above between the midfield and forwards as Porto squeezed that space. This is the space that Ode operates in along with Tross and Kai. Secondly our corner routines didn’t have any variations except for one when Tross tried a volley. When it was obvious that any touch made the Porto players go down… Read more »


Impressive shithousery it has to be said.


After sleeping one ot that I still feel the same, it was horrible. And still feel it is all on Arteta. Picking bad tactics (like using that bloody inverting, again) before tha game is one thing but being so negligent to change something, anything during the game is just not acceptable. Like he was frozen in shock. And I also hate his words after the game. Where is his taking responsibility? Blame the ref, that is all you got? Porto did shitty things, the ref was poor, so what? Should we be surprised and surrender? I am pro Arteta but… Read more »


Feel embarrassed for any Arsenal fan who thinks Raya is a better keeper than Ramsdale.

pseudo warrior

The folks on Le grove never cease to amuse, most of all this raptora. The way this lad turns from uber positive, pasting twitter stats on how good Arsenal are TO an absolute drama queen at the drop of a bad result….. sight to see 🤡

Did people really think Arsenal are going to come back to the CL after being out for so many years and suffer no setbacks? Ditch the super hero comic books and come back to the real world. Pressure, Inexperience are very real things


I have to say I was a bit pissed off last night with the way we conceded the goal. With some sleep and hindsight on my side, I think in the end it was the best lesson that needed to be taught to this young team: that being complacent and playing for a draw is the worse possible strategy in last rounds of a tournament. Only underdogs do this and we were far from being that. Inexperienced at this stage, yes. But not underdogs. We should have gone to this game with winning in mind and earn the draw if… Read more »


Last night’s performance will give more ammunition to those who think this team are bottlers. First pressure for them in the champions league knock out stage and they lose to a team they should beat home and away no matter what anyone says.


Apart from Rice all. under performed and games are like that in Europe.One thing I noticed about the goal despite it being a good shot Raya once again was standing way too far out from his line otherwise he might have got a hand to it.Why only one sub,why didn’t they change the way the corners were taken as it was like a tug of war.?Won’t be easy in the return leg but all in all a terrible game for us to watch.


Beside Raya being at fault for the goal it was Martinelli who had 3 players to pick out managed to fire straight at the Porto player which left 3 of ours stranded. Also why was Raya in a rush to do everything with 10 mins to go ? Obviously instructed that way but when you have been so poor you want your keeper to drop on the ball and waste some time. When you have been that poor take a draw and get out of there. Thank god the away goal rule isn’t in place otherwise we would be bang… Read more »


The team has grown but still a lot to learn in the Champions league given the long absence from the competition. Arsenal are a A plus learners it will fall in place.


Pierre I don’t believe that Arsenal were actually trying to win the game in extra time as you suggest. Arsenal’s players had shown very little ambition throughout game and my assessment was that the players were more than happy playing for a draw. Our passing was wayward and the intercepted pass which resulted in a goal was completely unecessary. Arsenal appear to be more comfortable playing games in EPL than in Knockout Cup Games.We have lost 4 games in cup competitions and the last two against Liverpool and Porto were last minute defeats. Those defeats were down to very poor… Read more »


I’m having problems scrolling down the page now. Is anyone else?


ES gets it. You cannot show this little ambition as the “superior” team because, guess what, it’s football and you can get punished by luck or by a worldie like we were last night. The best thing about being in a double leg knockout game is that there is a second game, but losing in the first game, makes the 2nd game even more unpredictable. The way it is, we’ll be starting on a 0-1 deficit, and we’ll be very vulnerable to a stroke of luck, a worldie, a bad mistake, a red card/pen type of incident away from crashing… Read more »


Also, we were not unlucky.
It’s not like we had 5 or 6 good chances to score.

We literally showed nothing in attack and the best chances in the game were for Porto, that they missed, to then score a worldie.

The result that made sense was 1-0 for Porto and that’s how it ended.

Backed by xG:

Porto (1.21) 1-0 (0.44) Arsenal


Bilbo me too. But only on my iPhone. When using my laptop browser it works fine


Always being taught a lesson, you all should be ashamed of coming here to say the lads are being taught a lesson everytime they shit the bed. When are they going to learn? Except it is not a lesson after all, it is who they are, who the coach is and what he’s transmitting to the players. A coach who was again given a lifeline but couldn’t see it. Porto playing highline using pepe against our pacy forwards and the mumu coach took no advantage of it. He doesn’t learn, well maybe he does but he’s too slow to learn.… Read more »


Madhuri disagree as I saw several attempts to pass to martinelli and all over hit or telegraphed and blocked…and what happened to our “marvelous from set pieces” stat/coach….multiple misses hampered by more fuckery in goal mouth.


Arteta going for a draw by bringing on Jorginho with 20 minutes to go, not good enough.

James wood

The early Rice yellow card did not help he had to be ultra safe after that.?
It could have been 2-0.
Saying Porto will be an easy touch at home is a mistake they have a few talented players who are well capable of scoring.?

Josip Skoblar

I am worried about our defence. Why is Saliba suddenly making so many mistakes? There are glaring positioning errors in our back four. (See when Porto almost scored in the first half) Has Arteta reversed to the defending scheme which he used at the beginning of the season?


“and what happened to our “marvelous from set pieces” stat/coach….multiple misses hampered by more fuckery in goal mouth.”

Porto did their homework on set pieces, and particularly on corners putting a body on White who’s only job has been to interfere with a keeper.
It was a pretty straightforward adjustment many so called top PL managers failed to make in recent games to their teams detriment.


OMG… Media report that Dani Alves handed four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for sexual assault in Barcelona nightclub!


Nice new format


White’s role during corners needs to be reviewed. Its not enough to waste a player just to impede the keeper. Even otherwise when the opponent mans White then we didn’t look at other variations in Corners.


Porto plan was to take a page out of Mourinho football shithousery book. And we fell for it.
The Turkish Dutch ref was a total cnut
Think our plan was to keep it tidy and hope for a lucky break or a set piece opportunity
As it was obvious no risk or high ball taken to pick up the runners
That didn’t work!
Nobody’s played well, but Martinelle & Havertz had a stinker


My takeaway is that Porto was disciplined and played like an away team trying not to lose – and it worked better than they hoped. They did their homework well with regards to space and defending corners. Arsenal unfortunately did not have a Plan B for either scenario – by the time we conceded it felt like settling for a draw was the inevitable outcome. Staying focused in defence especially in the last few minutes of a game is vital. The tie is not lost yet – but Porto has shown their hand and Arteta has to come up with… Read more »


Don’t understand how y’all think Porto could frustrate us for 90mins at the Emirates and we don’t get a positive result against them, something Mancity and Liverpool tried this season and failed as good as Lens in the 1st leg they let in 6goals at the Ems…the truth is Legrovers are just full of negativity, this team has been very good this season, with the amount of negative comments have read you will think Porto battered us yesterday it was a game they’re lucky to win, why can you guys think we can be that lucky too at home, but… Read more »


what will be a sign of progress is if this loss is a one-off blip or a trough of three or four losses on the trot


There are glaring positioning errors in our back four. (See when Porto almost scored in the first half) Has Arteta reversed to the defending scheme which he used at the beginning of the season? Yeah I noticed last night more than in recent games him reverting back to his usual boring inverted nonsense that continues to simply not work and hinder us as a team. At one point last night I saw White in midfield and Saliba at wide RB and Rice CB. There’s no coincidence that when he has playing like this that we struggle to create anything and… Read more »


Orbinho –

“In the last 14 years, Unai Emery has won more European knockout ties for Arsenal than either Mikel Arteta or Arsene Wenger.”

pseudo warrior

Simpleton Marko when Arsenal lose : Inverted nonsense

Simpleton Marko when Arsenal win with the same team playing the same structure : I did not see the inverted style today

pseudo warrior

Arsenal definitely need to learn the art of getting that turgid 0-0. These are the performances that enable us to go to the likes of Bernabau, Anfield and Etihad and come out still in contention for the top prizes.

Glad that Arteta thinks long term unlike so many of the muppets here


We approached the Porto game like we were paying a Sheffield United away from home.
We were too physical for a European knock out phase

I assumed that we would vary our approach after Declan got a yellow card in the first minute, but we didn’t . We kept trying to deploy BW as the hoodlum which was bizzare because the referee had shown he wasn’t going to tolerate that.


What is amazing is the same thing keeps happening for years now. Arteta still can’t motivate players for this kind of games. How the fuck is that possible? We have achieved nothing for so long and they are not motivated for CL final stages?
Also how could we keep doing the same thing at corners? how stupid that is?
Embarrassing if we aim for top.


Dani Alves is a prize cheating cunt so it’s not surprising. Most of this Golden Barca Generation was bullies cheaters tax frauds etc disgusting


This game has exposed that without setpieces, this team is impotent


What Ben White does during corners is what teams like Stoke under Pulis would do. Very crude football.



This game has exposed that without set pieces, this team is impotent”

What, like the five against Burnley

By the way, you’re rubbish. I scored -22 the other day 🙂

Josip Skoblar

Porto are no mugs when it comes to European competition. They lifted the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1987 and won CL in 2004. They won twice the ultimate trophy in European football.

Nigel Tufnel

It’s fair criticism here to say we should have reacted to the adjustments that our opponents have made against the Ben White keeper “distraction “. Burnley put a man with 100% focus task on him… so of course we should have reacted by having a different player do the White job every match, maybe a different person for each corner. Of course Porto would have watched what Burnley did. All of our future opponents will see what Burnley and Porto have done to take away the White edge. All teams including Newcastle will have players falling to the ground as… Read more »


when Arsenal win with the same team playing the same structure : I did not see the inverted style today You’re an idiot. In those recent 3 big wins where we played well you had Saliba and Gabriel playing closer to each other instead of one wider and you had at least one full back staying wide which gave a winger support and allowed them to be higher up the pitch. I’ll give you white sometimes played a bit narrow but that’s more him being a CB at heart and a bit dumb. Last night though was full on inverted… Read more »


Simple fact is when we stick to a back 4 when we have Saliba and Gabriel playing closer to each other and when you have Rice in midfield and not being asked to alternate to CB we look so much better. Like imagine how much better we would be if we had a natural LB and Timber at RB. Instead we’re just finding a way to fit in 4 CB’s


Sorry Pedro but this new page isn’t working as surely the latest comment should be on the top not having to scroll all the way down and again I ask you why not a reply section to a Post as the way it is now one probably wouldn’t see a reply or response.

Nigel Tufnel

I love how people say we went in playing for a draw. Nonsense from les miserables. We went in to play a mature, disciplined game, to accept a draw only if absolutely necessary.

Imagine of we came out swashbuckling, all we would be hearing is how it was a NAIVE game plan from Arteta.

Also, Jorginho coming on does not mean we couldn’t continue trying to score and win. His precise progressive passing helps the attack. He is not a destroyer in midfield, is he?
…..people here act like we brought on a Rob Holding type.

Positive Pete

Interesting stats concerning that match show there were 22 fouls given against Arsenal the most against any side in the competition from 2021.The ball was in play for less than 51.7% meaning there was only 50 odd minutes of football. Porto had 35% possession – roughly 17.5 minutes with the ball. 22 fouls & 17.5 minutes. So a foul was called every 48 seconds they had the ball. a complete useless c** t of a ref in my book.A learning curve for Arteta & A young Arsenal side when it comes to ’shithousery’.But a side with Pepe in it should… Read more »


We should hire Rory Delap to train our players throw ins into the box.
Like he did at Stoke.


NIGEL…we may not have ‘played for a draw’, but our build up was so slow and predictable that is the best we deserved

Luteo Guenreira

It was pretty apparent early yesterday that the players weren’t themselves, I don’t know if it was CL nerves or that fact that it was the first game in awhile where the team didn’t have at least a week of rest, but there were a lot of heavy touches and just some mistimed passes, cheap giveaways that haven’t been happening the past few weeks. I don’t know how Porto missed their early chance but we were fortunate to keep it even until it slipped away from us. Porto were playing a very high line, if felt like our players could’ve… Read more »

Luteo Guenreira

Also pretty interesting that Porto have a huge trophy they created for themselves called the Arsenal Cup after beating us once 75 years ago, when Arsenal had won their sixth First Division title. Almost 3 metres tall apparently.


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