Porto 1-0 Arsenal: 3 talking points as Gunners beaten in Portugal

  • Arsenal slipped to a drab 1-0 defeat away to Porto in the UEFA Champions League after Galeno's stoppage-time winner
  • His neatly taken goal capped a night when Bukayo Saka struggled to live up to "world class" billing and William Saliba looked fatigued.
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 / David Ramos/GettyImages
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2. Bukayo Saka's "world class" audition didn't go as planned

Saka had a golden chance to shut up Rio Ferdinand. The ex-Manchester United defender crowed in self-satisfaction about how "Saka hadn't done it at the top level, winning trophies."

This was Saka's opportunity to start changing that tired narrative. To make the most of every chance he gets to play in a meaningful Champions League tie.

Unfortunately, Arsenal's man of the moment faltered during his audition to be considered world class by a wider audience. Saka lacked the alertness and efficiency that usually define his game.

While his movement off the ball was intelligent and with purpose, Saka never posed the direct threat he often carries. Without it, Arsenal's Saka-less attack lacked inspiration.

He's no one-man team, and Saka was hardly helped by the pedestrian pace of passing through Arsenal's midfield. Yet, the harsh fact is Saka already has the status of a player expected to spark his teammates to glory even when they're underperforming.

There's a similar weight of expectation on Saliba at the heart of Arsenal's back four. The burden is starting to look too heavy for the young Frenchman.

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