3 positives & negatives from Arsenal 1-0 defeat at FC Porto

  • Late goal condemn Arsenal to round of 16 first leg defeat against Porto
  • The team were competitive for 93 minutes
  • They have a second chance at redemption at the Emirates

FC Porto v Arsenal FC: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
FC Porto v Arsenal FC: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages
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Positive #2: Ben White silently playing the inverted fullback role

Ben White
FC Porto v Arsenal FC: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Since Arteta returned to Arsenal as a manager in 2019, he has redefined the role of a full-back in this team. Pep Guardiola was doing it at Manchester City for a long time, but Oleksandr Zinchenko’s function as an inverted left-back has broadened the role in a very short time. That is why Kieran Tierney is spending time on loan at Real Sociedad.

With the Ukrainian still struggling with injury, Polish centre-back Jakub Kiwior is playing on the left, meaning, Arteta needs someone to invert and help out in midfield when the team is building in possession. In the last few matches, Ben White has been performing this role with little or no fuss, and he was brilliant again against Porto on Wednesday. He is no Zinchenko, but it is a difficult task for any player to replicate what the former Manchester City defender does with the ball and his movement.


Negative #2: Lack of clear cut chances

Wenderson Galeno, Bukayo Saka
FC Porto v Arsenal FC: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

After scoring 21 goals in the last five matches, no one would have thought that Arsenal would go into the game against Porto and not have a single shot on target. Throughout the 94 minutes of play, the team struggled to muster an attempt on goal and Diogo Costa had no saves to make against Arsenal.

It was the first time Arsenal have failed to test an opposition goalkeeper in a game in two years. The last time was a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, after which - thanks to the Amazon Prime documentary - Mikel Arteta told his players they were "nowhere near" the level required and needed to up the standards.

For me, this is a blip.

Continued on the next slide...