Porto vs Arsenal preview : Can the Gunners end their english hoodoo?

It’s been nearly two decades since Porto lifted the famous Champions League (CL) trophy under a baby-faced José Mourinho. The team famously knocked out Manchester United in that run, but since then, the Dragons have lost all seven of their other two-legged ties against English teams. Sérgio Conceição will be the man tasked with ending that hoodoo when in-form Arsenal travel to the Dragão for this first leg of their last-16 tie.

This first leg could be crucial as Porto have never won in England (3D, 18L), losing eight of their last nine visits. However, the hosts should be confident having won 12 of their last 17 home CL matches (1D, 4L) and losing just once in their last 10 games in all competitions (7W, 1D). They will need to maintain both of those records if they are to progress past this stage for the first time since 2021.

Few teams in Europe can match Arsenal’s current form, having started the calendar year with five straight league wins for the first time in their history. Mikel Arteta’s men have also won two consecutive away games by at least 5 goals, keeping them firmly in the race for a first league title since the “Invincibles” of 2004.

The aim is to replicate that form in Europe as Arsenal look to end a record run of seven consecutive eliminations at this stage of the CL. The last time Arsenal reached the quarter-finals, they beat Porto in 2009/10, although they lost the first leg in Portugal. A solitary win in nine trips here suggests the Gunners could struggle, but their recent European away record (12W, 5D, 3L) makes the visitors favorites for this tie.

Players to watch: Galeno, who scored and assisted in the 2-0 league win last weekend, returns to the CL where he contributed directly to seven goals in just five group games (4 goals, 3 assists). His opposite number Bukayo Saka is also in fine form, having scored six times in his last four appearances!

Hot stat: Only Real Sociedad (2) conceded fewer than Arsenal’s 4 goals in the group stage of this CL.

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