Arsenal aiming to follow Champions League final pattern after Porto win

  • Arsenal beat FC Porto in dramatic penalty shootout to progress into QFs
  • Five teams have advanced into final after knockout out Porto since 2017
  • Quarter-final draw on Friday

David Raya was Arsenal's hero as the Gunners progressed into the Champions League quarter-finals
David Raya was Arsenal's hero as the Gunners progressed into the Champions League quarter-finals / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Who said FC Porto were going to be a walkover?

Such naivety proved almost laughable as Arsenal were forced to endure a 210-minute slogfest against the impressive Portuguese side to book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010.

Galeno's late winner in the first leg meant there was a 1-0 deficit to overcome on Tuesday night, and if it wasn't for a sequence of utter genius from Martin Odegaard, we'd likely be rueing a drab European exit and questioning Mikel Arteta's competence in knockout fixtures. Arsenal played with the same caution that plagued their first leg display, allowing the technically impressive visitors to settle.

Porto, led by imperious veteran Pepe, never succumbed to a barrage of red and white attacks, and their own threat on the counter kept the hosts on their toes. Both goalkeepers were tested infrequently and penalties long seemed inevitable.

That's where David Raya came to the fore. The Spaniard's superb denials of Wendell and Galeno ensured Arsenal progressed into the last eight, and Mikel Arteta's side will now be hoping to follow a promising pattern regarding their journey in this season's competition.

Since 2016, five teams have advanced into the Champions League final after knocking out Porto.

2016/17 Juventus and Liverpool in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 dispatched the Primeira Liga giants on their way to the competition's showpiece event, while Chelsea squeaked past Sergio Conceicao's side in the 2020/21 quarter-finals before Kai Havertz scored the winner in the final - ironically in Porto - against Manchester City.

Last season's beaten finalists, Inter Milan, were also forced to scrap past Conceicao's dogged unit in the round of 16.

This pattern is surely nothing but a coincidence that the more superstitious Arsenal supporters will fancy latching onto as an undoubted signal of the club's continental destiny this term.

However, Arsenal's victory over Porto will undoubtedly stand in Gunners in good stead. Conceicao's outfit is admirably horrible to play against. They never allowed the free-flowing north Londoners to build up any sort of momentum, with their mastery of the dark arts key in ensuring the tie was so tight. It could've gone either way and Porto tested Arsenal's character fiercely.

Arteta's Gunners, however, faced the challenge and prevailed. These were two sub-par performances, the second bereft of control for large swathes, but they were ice cold when it mattered most.

There's little reason to fear anyone in the quarter-finals and beyond.