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Other SportsArteta demands more positive Arsenal ahead of do-or-die Porto clash

Arteta demands more positive Arsenal ahead of do-or-die Porto clash

Mikel Arteta knows Arsenal need to adopt a far more proactive approach when they host Porto in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, hoping to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

While Arsenal have been in brilliant form on the domestic front, winning all eight of their Premier League games in 2024 while scoring 33 goals, they produced an insipid display in Portugal three weeks ago.

Galeno’s stunning 94th-minute strike condemned the Gunners to a 1-0 defeat at the Estadio do Dragao, with the visitors failing to record a single shot on target in that game.

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Ahead of Tuesday’s all-important second leg at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta suggested Arsenal’s approach to that game was too conservative, with more invention required against a stubborn Porto backline.

“We’re certainly going to have to tweak a few things to generate much more than we did against them,” Arteta said at Monday’s pre-match press conference.

“It’s the Champions League, you’re facing top teams and the fact that there are two games plays on your mind a little bit. We have to be better tomorrow.

“Every opponent has their strengths and weaknesses, their way of approaching games. Now we know this opponent better, we played these kinds of games many times.

“We’ll just focus on being ourselves and doing more of the things we can control, better than we did a few weeks ago.”

Arsenal’s nine last-16 eliminations are a Champions League record, and they last reached the competition’s quarter-finals in 2010, beating Porto 6-2 on aggregate at this stage after losing the first leg 2-1.

Arteta knows the Emirates crowd will have a huge role to play, saying: “It’s an opportunity we have in our stadium with our people. For 96 minutes, bring your noise and let’s do it together.

“The impact they [the fans] can make tomorrow is incredible. I don’t think they realise it. We need them to play every single ball with us, but we need that emotional control as well.

“We need to realise that the game will go through different phases, we have to chose the moments to push, but it’s a beautiful opportunity to live these nights.

“It’s been 14 years, so everything we put out there will be worth it.”

Arsenal went top of the Premier League table on Saturday, with Kai Havertz’s late header guiding them to a 2-1 win over Brentford after Aaron Ramsdale’s mistake allowed Yoane Wissa to cancel out Declan Rice’s opener.

Arteta praised the way Ramsdale’s team-mates rallied around him after that error, saying: “The unity around the players is amazing. It’s organic, it’s natural.

“They really feel for each other and when they have opportunities to get someone out of trouble, they are ready to do it. It was another great example of the quality in the team and the people we have in there.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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