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Wenger eyes Chelsea or Man Utd

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Phil McNulty | 08:00 UK time, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

At Emirates Stadium

History suggests Chelsea or Manchester United might just fancy meeting Arsenal in the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals. Arsene Wenger wishes to make it clear the feeling is entirely mutual.

Wenger made no effort to be careful what he wished for as he virtually floated in to pore, and purr, over Arsenal's artistry as they swiped Porto aside 5-0 at the Emirates.

He has been accused of flying in the face of logic before - therefore it should come as no surprise that Wenger rolled out the welcome mat for two teams who have inflicted four defeats, three of them emphatic, on Arsenal this season.

Wenger insists revenge is not his motive, and his explanation that "we can't do any worse than we did in the league" does not exactly present the most convincing argument.

But no-one does conviction and confidence, even when it is wholly misplaced, quite like Wenger and this was Arsenal's manager at his most bullish in the afterglow of a demonstration of almost all that is good about his team.

Small details may yet derail his plan. Jose Mourinho will not be too amenable when he takes Inter Milan back to Chelsea next week in a position he loves, namely defending a lead.

And of course Manchester United have memories of dismantling Arsenal in last season's Champions League semi-final, as well as at the Emirates in January, to call on should the sides meet again this season.

It is hard to imagine Chelsea or Manchester United reeling back in terror at the thought of facing Arsenal when they have proved so superior in direct opposition this season.

None of this was knocking Wenger out of his stride when he admitted if he had a choice he would take an all-Premier League encounter, although he added he was also guarding against developing "a negative obssession with not drawing Chelsea or Manchester United."

Wenger, for all his cerebral approach to management, still loves one very basic human emotion of the sport. He enjoys proving people wrong.

You can see it as Arsenal edge their way back into a Premier League title race that looked lost after defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea. You can sense it in his relish at the notion of challenging, and defying, the odds that would be against Arsenal should they meet the two other English superpowers.

Arsenal's players gather in a huddle after the gameArsenal's post-game huddle emphasised their team spirit. Photograph: AP

And, after witnessing the manner in which Arsenal demolished Porto, it was easy to see why Wenger was so upbeat as he said: "If I don't smile tonight I will never smile."

Chelsea and Manchester United may allow themselves a smirk of their own at Wenger's audacity given their record against Arsenal, but his confidence in his team is pretty much clad in concrete. Unbreakable.

A note of caution though. While the variety and creativity of Arsenal's game was enough to put paid to Porto, better sides may take more ruthless advantage of uncertainties at the back when placed under serious pressure.

Arsenal wobbled at the start of the second half before regaining their composure and reasserting their vast supremacy. They may not get away with it against a Didier Drogba (let's face it, when do they ever get away with it against Drogba?) or a Wayne Rooney.

But having been critical of Arsenal before this season, with total justification, it is only right they should be applauded for a performance to delight any purist. On nights like this they are a pleasure to watch.

The unlikely spearhead was the man dubbed "Barndoor Bendtner", and the striker with the Devon Loch approach to a finish, after Arsenal's win against Burnley on Saturday.

If Wenger is confident, then Nicklas Bendtner is regarded by plenty as over-confident. And that is putting it mildly. Even Wenger allowed himself a wry grin when he revealed "his confidence level always remains relatively stable."

It is this indestructible self-belief that allowed Bendtner, helped by a ringing endorsement from Wenger in his programme notes, to shrug off his nightmare against Burnley and lead Arsenal's dismissal of Porto with a hat-trick.

Arsenal's fans are sometimes accused of impatience, but they threw their weight of support behind Bendtner. And while the goals he scored would have taken a lot of missing, he justified Wenger's declaration before the game that "he will score the next one". He did - and the one after that for good measure.

He was helped by another of those mesmerising displays from Andrey Arshavin. The Russian set up goals for Bendtner and Emmanuel Eboue, and held Porto's defence in his spell all night.

This loping little man, when on song, has an uncanny knack of almost hypnotising defenders who are frozen to the spot with indecision in front of him as he makes another of his surges into opposition territory.

Arshavin was the ring-master - but the real high spot was Arsenal's third goal from Samir Nasri. It provoked all manner of comparisons from Archie Gemmill for Scotland against the Netherlands in 1978, to Ricky Villa for Spurs against Manchester City in the FA Cup final three years later. At a push you could even stretch it to a Diego Maradona moment.

Nasri slalomed in from the right flank, taking out a succession of Porto defenders, some of them twice, before smashing a finish past Helton. It finished Porto off and it was fitting it should do so.

It was the crowning moment of a virtuoso Arsenal attacking display. The doubts must remain about whether they would possess enough to take out Chelsea or Manchester United should they meet over two legs, as Wenger wishes.

Would they have the strength? Would the failings that have let them down against Chelsea and United this season surface again?

Well, we know the answer to one thing. Arsene Wenger would just love the chance to find out.

You can follow me throughout this season at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Come on you Gunners!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    "Wenger insists revenge is not his motive, and his explanation that "we can't do any worse than we did in the league" does not exactly present the most convincing argument."

    "But no-one does conviction and confidence, even when it is wholly misplaced"

    You just can't stop yourself can you Phil???

    You do nothing but slag off Wenger/Arsenal yet we are the only English team (Definetly) through to the Q Finals of the Champions League and we are most certainly involved for the race for the title (something you said would be beyond us!!!)

    I will now do my best Kevin Keegan impression.

    I would love it, love it if we beat them to the league - not because i have any disrespect towards Man U or Chelsea but so i can hear your "expert" analysis on Arsenals title win along with you explanation for the terrible predictions which have come from you this season.

    Well done Arsenal 3 points Saturday now please.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'll take nothing away from the Gunners, it was marvellous to watch. Hope Anfield might be taking some notes on attacking flair.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Would they have the strength? Would the failings that have let them down against Chelsea and United this season surface again?"

    No

    Yes

    That is all

  • Comment number 5.

    " But having been critical of Arsenal before this season, with total justification, it is only right they should be applauded for a performance to delight any purist."

    Total justification? Where did you pull that one out of and given their position in the league and the Champions league how is your judgement merited never mind justified. I love the judge and jury approach. No mention of the word Hatrick for a striker written off only 4 or 5 days ago.......

    Arsenal will be roundly thrashed by either Chlesea or United because of their defence and fragile mentality it's that simple. When they are on the up they are confident but put a goal past them they crumble.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whoever we get the important thing is we are on the up coming into the business end of the season, lets hope it brings us a trophy!

  • Comment number 7.

    Is this the season where this promising arsenal side finnally win something!?...well its looking okay at the moment. Still in the title race...and into the quarter finals of the champions league.Whatever happens they need to buy a good defensive midfielder like they had in viera and gilberto silva to guard against these counter attacks they always seem to suffer.They have an amazingly creative and skilfull side but not really any players to do the dirty work or match the physical apprach adopted by chelsea and to some extent man u.Thats why they struggle against teams like stoke.We will see...i am sure wenger has noticed this and if not im just wrong.

  • Comment number 8.

    im a united fan and i love it if we got arsenal too....because they are the ultimate bully, they look great against weak teams, and get trounced by real clubs, like us

  • Comment number 9.

    If I was writing the script, this is how it would go.

    We'd face Man U in the quarters and beat them.

    Then we'd draw Chelsea in the semis and beat them.

    Meanwhile . . . we'd win the league.

    Then in the final, we'd play Jose Morinho's Inter Milan . . . and take home the trophy!

    cue triumphant music and roll credits.

    Now, naturally, I take winning the 2 trophies however it happens.

    2/3

  • Comment number 10.

    It is always back handed compliments with many journalists. When Man Utd or Chelsea turnover teams, they crow about how greta they are. When we do it, a lot of emphasis goes on 'weak' opposition, or how a few meaningful Porto attacks showed we were indecisive at the back. Porto had a couple of efforts on target but rarely threatened, which I think goes to show how well we played, as they are a decent attacking team, Varela and Falcao especially look like they will step up a level.

    As for the next round, I do not care who we get. I strongly believe we are capable of beating anyone on our day. We played United off the park at Old Trafford. We lost due to individual errors. To be fair, errors also cost us in the other games, as we were behind then had to chase the game. Though we were well beaten in both home games I admit. Another point to add is that we seem to be hitting form at the right time and if our players stay fit we have a great chance to go all the way.

  • Comment number 11.

    To LABSAB9. So sensitive to any perceived criticism of Arsenal. I am merely suggesting saying they can't do any worse than in the league is no guarantee of success should they meet Chelsea or Manchester United again.

    I do nothing but criticise Wenger apparently - and yet you choose to ignore the praise for Arsenal's performance in the blog.

    And to collie21...my criticism of Arsenal's performances in the defeats against Manchester United and Chelsea was justified because they were so poor.

    Also, just to answer your criticism of "No mention of the word Hatrick for a striker written off only 4 or 5 days ago......." can I draw your attention to this in the blog.

    "The unlikely spearhead was the man dubbed "Barndoor Bendtner", and the striker with the Devon Loch approach to a finish, after Arsenal's win against Burnley on Saturday.

    "If Wenger is confident, then Nicklas Bendtner is regarded by plenty as over-confident. And that is putting it mildly. Even Wenger allowed himself a wry grin when he revealed "his confidence level always remains relatively stable."

    "It is this indestructible self-belief that allowed Bendtner, helped by a ringing endorsement from Wenger in his programme notes, to shrug off his nightmare against Burnley and lead Arsenal's dismissal of Porto with a hat-trick.

    "Arsenal's fans are sometimes accused of impatience, but they threw their weight of support behind Bendtner. And while the goals he scored would have taken a lot of missing, he justified Wenger's declaration before the game that "he will score the next one". He did - and the one after that for good measure."

    So, do Arsenal fans feel Wenger is right to want Chelsea or Manchester United in the next round? Can they beat them this time?


  • Comment number 12.

    Does this mean then that perhaps finally this season we have silenced the Arsenal "fans" who have called for Wengers head?

    3 times this season it's been "He's lost the plot, he's got to go" or "He's too stubborn for his own good, we need some new blood".

    Yes, Arsenal have won nothing yet, and are anything but favourites to win either of the trophies that they're in, but surely, based on where they are with what they've got, including getting Phil to change his mind, well, it's got to be nothing but admiration for the glorious leader.

  • Comment number 13.

    5. At 08:30am on 10 Mar 2010, collie21 wrote:
    Arsenal will be roundly thrashed by either Chlesea or United because of their defence and fragile mentality it's that simple. When they are on the up they are confident but put a goal past them they crumble.

    ____________________________
    A touch harsh Collie,I think Arsenal have beaten a lot of sides this season that they wouldn't have previously.Stoke away etc.I don't think Chelsea or Un**ed would see Arsenal as an easy ride.

  • Comment number 14.

    arsenal played brilliantly yesterday especially arshavin, nasri and clichy. but some credit should go to porto's wingers(or LM & RM), they dint know to cross the ball into the box

  • Comment number 15.

    Collie21 (comment No5) hits the nail on the head - Arsenal just aren't good enough at the back to beat Chelsea or ManU. We haven't had a world-class keeper since Lehmann and he was far from perfect - although after reading the blog before this one I think we have a world-beater in Wojciech Szczesny waiting in the wings, which perhaps explains why Wenger hasn't moved to replace Almunia. Gallas is past it, and Clichy looks horribly off the pace since his injury. However, the big miss is a genuine defensive midfielder...

  • Comment number 16.

    Phil

    He never said he wanted either of them in the next round he merely pointed out that he had no control over the draw and will therefore accept whoever they are drawn against and prepare Appropriately.

  • Comment number 17.

    YEs it was a joy to watch last night - But as a Gooner, i would like to avoid Chelsea or Man U over two legs. I hate to admit it, but i feel that they have the beating of us over two legs. However in a one off game like the Champions League Final, then it would be more open...!

  • Comment number 18.

    11. At 08:43am on 10 Mar 2010, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I do nothing but criticise Wenger apparently - and yet you choose to ignore the praise for Arsenal's performance in the blog.

    Yes Phil, however, you still can't resist the thinly veiled digs throughout this piece.

    As i said previously i pray we win the league because i cannot wait to read your blog and the comments you will get in relation to your blinkered view.

  • Comment number 19.

    I really enjoyed last night and am really enjoying the league while we fight it.

    I am not fooled however - we are still not the finished article - but we have developed a lot this season.

    I would still expect us to go into any encounter with Man Utd or Chelsea as the underdog.

    But you now I don't care.... we will get there I am confident of that. And I am just going to enjoy the ride.

  • Comment number 20.

    To be honest Phil having read Wenger's comments i'm not sure he really said that he particularly wants United or Chelsea, I think he was just responding to a question about whether he does want them, and obviously he is not going to say 'no' because of the potentitial mental impact if we draw them. He actually said -

    "You want to make a story with a story. I will take the draw we get. And I do not want to make a negative obsession of not playing against Chelsea or not playing against Man United. That’s all."

    Personally I would prefer us not to draw one of those two teams but if we do, and we fail to beat them, then we don't deserve to win the competition so thats that. What I would say I would feel alot more confident playing them now because the arsenal players seem to be on the up confidence and performance wise and have a point to prove. Still wouldn't take them if i had the choice though.


  • Comment number 21.

    I don't think Arsenal have a chance in the champions league. As someone said "put a goal past them and they will crumble". If they draw a strong team: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man Utd or Chelsea I just don't think Arsenal have the mental strength.

    In the league however Arsenal may have an appalling record against Chelsea and Utd but other than that they have been more consistent than the rest. I therefore feel the league is their best shot as both Chelsea and Utd will drop points against the likes of spurs, each other, City (in Utds case)and Liverpool. I can't see Arsenal dropping any points apart from against City and perhaps a draw some where along the line.

    I can't believe I am saying this as I was convinced they were out of it when they were 8 points behind Chelsea! I should have learnt that one of the biggest advantages a team can get is getting rid of their tough matches early. Utd proved this against Newcastle and Arsenal did the same in the 1997/1998 season. Utd had that advantage last year as they had all their tough games in the second half of the season last year at home. My only thought though is will they crumble when the pressure is on!

  • Comment number 22.

    9. At 08:40am on 10 Mar 2010, 2 of 3 wrote:

    If I was writing the script, this is how it would go.

    We'd face Man U in the quarters and beat them.

    Then we'd draw Chelsea in the semis and beat them.

    Meanwhile . . . we'd win the league.

    Then in the final, we'd play Jose Morinho's Inter Milan . . . and take home the trophy!
    ---------------
    chelsea and intermilan are playing each other in the knock out stage and u want to meet them in semi and finals resp... i think ur script is flawed

  • Comment number 23.

    My view on this matter of Wenger trying to convince people he would like to meet Chelsea or United in the quarters, is nothing but a facade, and a front he is putting on to try and breath confidence into his own camp, and doubt into Chelsea and United's - I can categorically say It will not work.

    Just 4 weeks ago Wenger admitted his team have a mental block against United and Chelsea, after they were comprehensively beaten in both games, so whathas changed, why the change of tune?

    Lets face it Arsenal put in a good performance last night, but 5-0 was certainly flattering, and had Porto took key chances it might have been different. Arsenal fans will try to convince themselves that it was the sort of performance of the callibre of Man United's 7-1 thrashing of Porto, - which was well and truly a demolition. Quite simply it wasn't.

    I'm not trying to make out I would like to meet Arsenal sometime in the competition, (United are not through yet I would point out, nor ar Chelsea) because undoubtedly on their day (or over two legs) they could beat us should they be clinical and mean in defence. But the fact of the matter is they are in my opinion of yet to naive to win this type of tie. Defensively if United or Chelsea are on their game they could really rip Arsenal to shreads, as backed up by recent events.

    So credit to Arsenal they have refound some good form, and rightly their fans will be optimistic, but it's not time for Wenger to come out and blow his metaphorical trumpet, as I would point out actions speak louder than words.

    Thanks.

  • Comment number 24.

    #11 Sorry Phil I owe you an apology, early morning and I read through twice looking for hatrick and missed hat-trick. My bad. I understand your qualified criticism when you bracket it in terms of against United and Chelsea, I would have to say United have become a bogey team for Arsenal. I don't think overall criticsm of Arsenal is justified, they could still win the league and I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't think they have it in the head to beat United on a one off or two legged affair.

  • Comment number 25.

    I believe Phil McNulty missed the main point about Arsenal's performance, last night. It wasn't about 'bring Chelsea or Manchester United on', to dissolve the ghost. Last night was about Arsenal being able to produce an excellent performance, scoring a feast of goals, in the last 16 of the Champions League, without Fabregas and van Persie.

    On the evidence of last night, if Fabregas leaves the club in the summer, the team will not be affected. Even if van Persie leaves too, Arsenal can go on. I think this was the main message of last night's performance.

    I wouldn't bite into the bait of Arsenal v Man Utd or Chelsea. I think it is more important for the premiership to see, if possible, 3 english teams in the semi-finals again. This is what would prompt talented footballers to want to play in the premiership rather than La Liga.

    An interesting point is that, if, in the light of likelihood, Inter Milan and AC Milan eliminated tonight, England will have three clubs in the Champions League quarter finals and Italy will have none.

    I wouldn't like to leave the board mentioning, me too, the Nasri goal. It was a goal to pay the ticket just to see it. Well done!

  • Comment number 26.

    Arsene is not daft. He is outright deflecting any questions about not wanting to face Man U or Chelsea because we are percieved to be too soft to beat them.
    (Let's not forget that we have been without RVP for most of the season, how would they have done without Rooney or Drogba for that long?)

    Still, it does not stop you spending the whole article debating the issue when, lets be honest about it, those two teams still have a lot of work to do to qualify for the quarter final stage.

    I am not sure what the point of the blog is, why concentrate on mythical potential games and brushing over details of what was a fantastic game to watch?

    For my own view on the game, I thought Campbell struggled badly, maybe his injury was not fully clear. For that fact, Arshavin too was playing well within himself as he too is carrying an injury, but still unlocked the Porto defence at will. But that is nit-picking, it was a great team perfomance, it showed what we can do and why we can beat any team on our day.

    Oh, why no mention at all of Eboue's goal? It was a fantastic lung-busting run and great composure in front of goal.

    Even the crowd had a great game!




    No

  • Comment number 27.

    12. At 08:43am on 10 Mar 2010, TheBoltonsMum wrote:

    Does this mean then that perhaps finally this season we have silenced the Arsenal "fans" who have called for Wengers head?

    Any Arsenal fans calling for Wengers head are/was bonkers and i am sure a very small minority who don't know a good thing when they have got one!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    what a goal that was!!!! brilliant, brilliant Nasri

  • Comment number 29.

    Arsenal got the job done at the end of the day, but we still looked a bit too open against a very ordinary Porto side. A better side would have taken taken advantage. The key problem is discipline and concentration. Wenger was screaming at players all night to get in position, but they should really be experienced now not to have to be told. Song spent far too much time joining the attack when he needed to stay, especially when Porto still were just an away goal short. We really need to learn our lessons sometimes.

    But going forward we're as dangerous as any side the competition. Bendtner is no Van Persie, but is that presence up front that we've been lacking. We were lacking that in our recent games against United and Chelsea which is why I wouldn't mind facing them again, to set the record straight. Chelsea reversed fortunes on us few years ago in the CL when Wayne Bridge's goal knocked us out. We can do the same.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am also amazed by the shortsightedness of some of the people commenting on arsenals inability to beat united or chelsea. Arsenal have beaten these times over the last few seasons and the teams havent changed that much in this time.

    Just because we have played badly against them this season, it does not mean that its IMPOSSIBLE for us to beat them.

    If Burnley can manage to beat united and wigan can manage to beat chelsea I fail to see why people think its inconcievable for us to do the same.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Phil,
    This is a deceptive blog by you. Though I see you have appreciated the goals scored by Arsenal. How come you have highlighted the little wobble at start of second half?

    Anybody who has seen the game last night will tell you how brilliant Vermaelen & Campbell were!

    You have made too much of Wenger's post match interview as to which team Arsenal like to face - you are envy of Arsenal's efficient performance, hence you always want to keep us reminding of defeats by Un**ed/Chelski.

    Let us just wait for another week and see the draw itself. As far as Arsenal are concerned, we aint even afraid of Barca/Real Madrid.

    Bring on.

  • Comment number 33.

    17. At 08:50am on 10 Mar 2010, Bad-Mick wrote:

    YEs it was a joy to watch last night - But as a Gooner, i would like to avoid Chelsea or Man U over two legs. I hate to admit it, but i feel that they have the beating of us over two legs. However in a one off game like the Champions League Final, then it would be more open...!
    -------------------------

    if every result goes in favor of the favourites, then the teams would be manu , chelsea, RM, barcelona, bayern, sevilla & bordeaux. so apart from sevilla & bordeaux its gonna be very difficult. as a manu fan i wud prefer bordeaux.

    how abt arsenal vs barcelona in the QF?

  • Comment number 34.

    Excellent blog Phil! As a Liverpool fan I can honestly say that I am supporting Arsenal this year in the champions league. Why? Because for all the things that I don't like about Wenger, (complaining, everybody against us attitude), he knows how to produce a team capable of playing exciting skillful football.

    On a separate topic, it is interesting to note that supporters from all the big clubs tend to accuse Phil of repeated bias against their club. Man U fans claim he is biased towards Liverpool, Liverpool fans claim he is biased against Liverpool because he supports Man U or Everton etc... Is it maybe just possible that Phil is in fact providing the balanced "outsider" perspective, and that we are the ones with the bias for our team and against our rivals.

    Food for thought!

  • Comment number 35.

    How on earth are we missing a defensive midfielder? Song is one of the most improved players this season. We look weaker when he does not play. So finally Wenger is proven right in that aspect. I think we definitely need Gallas back soon, though Campbell has filled in well. Yes we are not as solid as United or Chelsea, but then we are more potent going forward when we are on song. Will certainly be a tough game against either of those two, but we are capable of beating them both.

  • Comment number 36.

    As a Liverpool fan i have steped back and admired this man for many years. By far the best manager in the Country.His outlook on Football is spot on he just as not had the credit he deserves may be its a foreign thing.Could talk about him all day i geniuine hope that he leads his team to european glory and the PL.Hope you writers give him the respect which as been lacking.

    Mc Nuff you still in touch with prentice if so i have fences to treat pop in next time in L4 so how a proper job with decent people is carried out

  • Comment number 37.

    #23 Jamie Riley

    Wasn't that 7-1 thrashing of Roma???


    #31 Heavens2Murgatroyd

    I do not suffer from paranoid schizophrenia (at least thats what i tell myself)

  • Comment number 38.

    The arrogance of Arsenal returns and with claims to be eyeing two far more superior teams in the next round is cringing . Typical Media Love in with Arsenal from last night. For crying out loud anyone would have beaten Porto last night. their defending was dire.

    Get real journo's! As for the deluded Mr. Wenger and one has to say the most arrogant MR. Bendtner bring it on!!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Phil lets face it, you are always down on Arsenal whatever we do. Even in this blog although just witnessing the destruction of Porto you go on about 'our previous failings in the next round'. We are currently the only English team in the Quarter finals and I would like to stand by Wenger's comments, that we do not fear anyone!! Why should we European games and different to domestic games and I personally think this Arsenal team has now turned a corner and have matured into a talented outfit that knows with the right belief that we can beat anybody!!

    3 points at Hull now, that would cap an excellent Arsenal week!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Let's put something right here... Wenger at no time said he wanted to meet Un**ed or Chelsea (anybody interested enough to make a comment about it here could have at least heard what the man said)... he was asked if he would like to meet either Chelsea or Un**ed in the next round to which he answered words to the effect, I have no control over who we meet in the next round if it is Chelsea or Un**ed then so be it.

    Of course that is to tame for the press, they have to sell papers or tv advertising... so it became, Arsene wants revenge on Chelsea or Un**ed in the next round of the CL... how pathetic are you guys.

  • Comment number 41.

    Arsenal are real contenders in 2 competitions, no doubt, but we are just facing into the part of the season where they were found wanting in the past 2 seasons. Mental strength is what's needed.

    Also, every time this season when Arsenal fans have started to get into optimistic mood(and there have been a few) they have had a dip in form/results, so I'd be wary if I were them.

    As for the guy who suggests that if Utd were missing Rooney or Chelsea, Drogba for most of the season....like they are missing Van Persie....

    Firstly, 2-3 months is not most of the season and secondly, if Arsenal had anything like the defensive problems Utd have had this season then they would be nowhere in sight in either competition.

  • Comment number 42.

    smilingquintet - "as a manu fan you would prefer Bourdeaux"
    --------

    Yes you would. As you do not have guts to take on Barca/Chelsea OR Real. How about your CR9 tormenting you at OT?

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Liverpool fan i have steped back and admired this man for many years. By far the best manager in the Country.His outlook on Football is spot on he just as not had the credit he deserves may be its a foreign thing.Could talk about him all day i geniuine hope that he leads his team to european glory and the PL.Hope you writers give him the respect which as been lacking.

    Mc Nuff you still in touch with prentice if so i have fences to treat pop in next time in L4 so how a proper job with decent people is carried out

    --------------------------------

    Wenger best manager in the Country? thats why you are a Liverpool fan. Whatever happened to Fergie?

  • Comment number 44.

    Boy some Arsenal fans are touchy. Whilst there is an argument to be made that Mr McNulty changes his opinions more than his underwear, I actually agree with his point. You have to be critical when its due but also give praise when its due. Arsenal were poor against Man U and Chelsea earlier in the year but very good last night.

    Phil would have liked some mention of Porto. These guys just can't travel apparently. But you can only beat who you're up against and Arsenal are as big a chance as anyone to get past the quarters. Unless they draw Barcelona of course......

  • Comment number 45.

    We're most likely going to have to face Man Utd or Chelsea if we want to win this Champions League anyway so, hell yeah, we should be ready to face them at any point.

    We had kickings good and proper before, but this is football; in this season most of all, people should be well aware of the folly of 'assuming results'.

  • Comment number 46.

    I am an Arsenal fan and I don't care whether they win the Champions League, Premiere League or anything at all, ALL I CARE ABOUT IS THAT THEY CONTINUE PLAYING THE WAY THEY DO, BEAUTIFUL FOOTBALL. I refuse to spend time watching anybody else, might as well just read the results at the end of the night.

    Ofcourse -to be honest- it would be nice to get a trophy once in a while, but the point is ENTERTAINMENT and no other team provides that except perhaps Barcelona.

  • Comment number 47.

    #33

    Arsenal v Barcelona ideally would surely be a footballing purists dream.
    King Henry returning.
    Barca seeing close up just how brilliant Fabregas is.
    Saying that, it could end up 0-0 over both legs and be won on penalties...! :o)

  • Comment number 48.

    Also I would not say we are mentally fragile anymore. We have been behind on numerous occassions and came back. We were behind in this tie and come back to win (for the first time in over 25 years). Also, it is the first time in something like 34 ties, that Porto have lost after leading the 1st leg. Finally, it was clear against Stoke after the horrific injury to Ramsey, that the team is maturing and mentlaly stronger than 2 years ago. I am not saying we will win anything, but i am genrally delighted that we are in the mix. Many, many people wrote us off at the start of the season, saying we would be out of the top 4 and do nothing in Europe. So this season has already been very very successful.

  • Comment number 49.

    To LABSAB9...Wenger's was pressed at his media conference on whether he would like Chelsea or Manchester United after appearing to suggest on television that they would be his preferred choice.

    He responded when asked if he would take either by saying: "If I have a choice I would say 'yes'."

    Wenger also said he believed it would present a great opportunity for Arsenal to show what they could do - and make no mistake, those league defeats will still be burning inside. You could see at the time how much they hurt him especially, I feel, the one to Manchester United at the Emirates. I genuinely believe the manner of that loss came as a huge shock to him at the time.

    I certainly take Wenger's point that he would not be wise to say he doesn't want them. I, for one, would love to see Arsenal meet either of those two in the next round, rounds or even final.

    Also, just to expand on my point that Arsenal looked uncertain when placed under pressure. Porto had one or two moments before Nasri's goal, and I still worry Arsenal will be too open against superior opposition in the next stages.

    What do Arsenal fans feel about that. There was certainly some anxiety spreading around the Emirates before that beautiful goal by Samir Nasri.

  • Comment number 50.

    9. 2 of 3 wrote:

    Then we'd draw Chelsea in the semis and beat them.

    Then in the final, we'd play Jose Morinho's Inter Milan . . . and take home the trophy!
    --------
    That's some mean feat, beating Chelsea and Inter, particularly as only one of them can progress to the next round

  • Comment number 51.

    #30 United beat arsenal 3:1 last season and 4 : 0 the season before so it's not just this season.

    #34 If that's food for thought no wonder I am starving...

    In general I don't see how you lot see 3 teams from England in the Next Round Chelsea are on the way out.

    I have to say it's a year where prospective opposition ( Barcelona apart ) is looking good for United, Real and Chelesa could be gone, Arsenal are doable and Bayern too... A repeat of last years final with a much better performance from United would be a treat.

  • Comment number 52.

    im a united fan and i love it if we got arsenal too....because they are the ultimate bully, they look great against weak teams, and get trounced by real clubs, like us

    --------------------------------------------

    Like it!

  • Comment number 53.

    Arsenal played superb football. Nasri was outstanding. He dribbled so many Porto defenders before beating Helton with that marvellous strike number 3. Great win by Arsenal. Congratulations.

  • Comment number 54.

    Arsenal fans have suuuuuuch a chip on their shoulder. Did they get it from the manager or the other way round? Either way, their made for each other. And they'll get knocked out in the next round.

  • Comment number 55.

    49. At 09:34am on 10 Mar 2010, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:
    Also, just to expand on my point that Arsenal looked uncertain when placed under pressure. Porto had one or two moments before Nasri's goal, and I still worry Arsenal will be too open against superior opposition in the next stages.

    What do Arsenal fans feel about that. There was certainly some anxiety spreading around the Emirates before that beautiful goal by Samir Nasri.

    ____________

    Phil, Do you mean to say teams like Chelsea, United are never attacked by the opponents. There's never panic set in fans when Chelsea/United scrape to ugly 1-0 wins??

    It's only Arsenal who get exposed and written off in your blogs. Never seen you doing that to United/Chelsea or even your new found love for Man City.

    Ohh. Yes Nasri's goal was majestic!

  • Comment number 56.

    #31 Heavens2Murgatroyd - Good shout.

  • Comment number 57.

    Arsenal's post-game huddles seem to show team spirit, and fair enough to them if it works, but you never see United or Chelsea players huddling after a game do you?

    They get on with the game professionally, and congratulate each other at the end. Perhaps it's because these players are more used to success, and are more seasoned, they don't feel the need to huddle like penguins.

    It's easy to read too much into it, but where some people see a huddle as a sign of a team's strength, I also think it shows a certain fragility that could potentially afflict the squad.

    I played for my local under-18's team, and on the odd occasion that we huddled, I felt a bit awkward, and it didn't change how we went on to play one bit.
    Obviously that is nowhere near the level of pressure of these type of games, but the need to do it still strikes me as odd, unless you have a brilliant orator speaking to the huddle.

  • Comment number 58.

    we've had Jose (about to) go back to Chelsea
    Becks (abou to ) return to ManU

    Are we destrined for titi to return in the QF?

    i thought the blog was fair, Campbell looked a little rusty but grew into it - an earlier poster intimated he may not have been 100%, i'd agree with that. Song has improved massively, but with Clichy & Sagna pushing on, he must hold....not get involved up top. The sooner he learns that the more solid we will be.
    Lovely goal by Nasri, and Bendtner rightly got the headlines in the paper this morning but i'm pleased to see you saw the bigger picture Phil and highlighted Arshavin's immense contribution to the game.

    For all those knocking Porto - can i just remind you, this team finished a close second to Chelsea and only lost 1-0 at the bridge. All teams look bad when given a good going over.

    And as for the knockers of Bendtner, the boy has the potential of being a very good player - last night he played it simple, hold the ball up lay it off as the midfield join in....sure he misses chances, but Andy Cole used too as well and he won a fair bit in his career. Plus if he misses whilst others are scoring, then it doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 59.

    As a Leeds fan I can't be accused by Mr McNulty of oversensitivity about Arsenal but I can point out he is incapable of saying "I got it wrong" when he suggested Arsenal were out of the PL title race and not serious CL contenders. A bit like backing Liverpool for the PL and suggesting Mancini wouldn't get 4th his "critical of Arsenal...., with total justification" is going to look ridiculoius come May.

  • Comment number 60.

    As a nuetral:

    I'd love Arsenal to go on and win something, simply for the: "Football wins" statement that it would leave.

    Chelski and Citeh's money not availing them, and Man Utd knocked ever so slightly off their perch, would crown what, for me, has been a mesmerising season!

  • Comment number 61.

    Also, just to expand on my point that Arsenal looked uncertain when placed under pressure. Porto had one or two moments before Nasri's goal, and I still worry Arsenal will be too open against superior opposition in the next stages
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For once I completely agree, you could stake your house on it.

  • Comment number 62.

    If I was writing the script, this is how it would go.

    We'd face Man U in the quarters and beat them.

    Then we'd draw Chelsea in the semis and beat them.

    Meanwhile . . . we'd win the league.

    Then in the final, we'd play Jose Morinho's Inter Milan . . . and take home the trophy!

    cue triumphant music and roll credits.

    Now, naturally, I take winning the 2 trophies however it happens.

    2/3

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    play chelsea in semi and inter in the final..................you must be sleeping!

  • Comment number 63.

    Labsab9 comment 37)

    #23 Jamie Riley

    Wasn't that 7-1 thrashing of Roma???

    Certainly was my friend. That's my hand writing something different to what my brain is telling it, - or the fact I had been discussing Porto earlier in the blog. One of the two!

    Refreshing to see some people do read my comments, - a few complain they are too long!

    Thanks for the correction.


    36. At 09:11am on 10 Mar 2010, pitchside wrote:
    As a Liverpool fan i have steped back and admired this man for many years. By far the best manager in the Country.

    By this man I presume you mean Arsene Wenger which is not clear! Obviously your a Liverpool fan so obviously you don't want to give credit to anyone associated with Man United, but Sir Alex Ferguson is the best manager in England based on sustained success, so what are you basing your statement on please.

    And despite what many may say Fergie is also more graceful in defeat than Wenger, and is also much more honest about his own teams performance.

  • Comment number 64.

    You might consider Arsene's comments misplaced logic, but there are many Arsenal fans (im one)who wouldnt mind Man U or Chelsea either. Neither team are as good as the media make out and after losing to english opponents in the CL for two years running (we were cheated out of it at Anfield two yrs ago)its maybe our time to reverse our fortunes. The Prem league losses count for little in CL format.

  • Comment number 65.

    5. 2 of 3

    i said after the game it'd be fitting if we beat united, chelsea then barca but yours is just as good but impossible, mate. inter and chelsea cant both make the quarters.

    as for the blog. phil is always reserved in his praise for us in total contrast to chelsea or united.

    the media are always seem to find negatives in ours or liverpools good performances. considering we were predicted by many to be the top 4 team to be ousted this season i believe we deserve more respect.

    and for what it is worth wenger in the post-match preference clearly stated he'd rather not face the english teams yet. he admitted however that it is out of his hands. so he actually backtracked on the immediae post-match comments. wenger does not worry about who we get, he worries about us and that is the way it should be.

    phil considering you are one of the main journos who underpredicts us i think it's a bit rich when you constantly say "arsenal prove their critics wrong". you may as well title these blogs. "i've been made to look a right fool, yet a gain". your predictions have been wild at best this season.

    keelan

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil,

    There were two moments, the Falcao shot and the header which was blocked on the line that caused a little bit of anxiety. I would hardly say that 'anxiety was spreading around the Emirates'. Porto are a decent attacking side, they will create chances against anyone. So it is to be expected that during a game they will create chances. However, apart from those two instances Almunia had nothing meaningful to do. I thought we looked fairly solid at the back, considering we were missing Gallas. I think we definitely have a chance in the competition, as on our day we can beat anyone. Will just need a bit of luck and to keep our key players fit.

  • Comment number 67.

    Just a comment on the comment on Bendtners goals
    "And while the goals he scored would have taken a lot of missing,"
    1. goal requires a brave man and quick thinking, and to be at the right spot
    2. goal requires you avoid to run into the offside position and still be on the right spot.
    I simply can not understand the lack of respect for scoring three goals in a Champions League match in the final stage. I dont care if a player scores three with his ear, knee and shinpad, if he scores three he has been at the right spot at the right time done what he is paid for

  • Comment number 68.

    At 09:06am on 10 Mar 2010, bobbieflowers wrote:
    what a goal that was!!!! brilliant, brilliant Nasri

    Bobbie, Bobbie, Bobbie!!
    That would have been a great goal if it had not been for the comical defending, some that my 13 year olds Sunday morning team would have been enbarassed about, please get real!!

    Did nobody else notice how vulnerable Arsenal were, if they had been playing a really decent team they would not have the opportunity to attack so much. They gave the ball away far too often in midfield areas, can you imagine if they gave the ball to Iniesta or Xavi like that? Sol Campbell looked like a 35 year old who only plays now and again (oops he is isn't he), can you imagine him against Drogba or Rooney? Please Arsenal fans, take a reality pill, you played ok against a very average team, against stronger opposition you would be mullered!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Let's not forget that Chelsea are in a very difficult position in their tie, and although United are strong favourites, they aren't through yet either.

    I would split my sides if both those teams went out.

    And it's funny how short people's memories are. Arsenal beat United and Chelsea last season, with a side that was worse than the current one, so why can't they beat them again? United did awfully against the other top 4 teams and still won the league and got to the CL final. United didn't get written off like Arsenal seem to, even after they got beaten 4-1 at home by Liverpool!

    Also, Arsenal weren't completely dominated against Utd or Chelsea this season, no matter what the scorelines may suggest. If Arsenal had scored first in any of those 3 defeats (yes yes "ifs and buts".. but they had chances) then things would have been different. To suggest that they have no chance if they draw them in the CL is foolish (aimed more at some of the comments rather than the original blog).

  • Comment number 70.


    It's a sheer case of jumping the gun on Wenger's part. I won't be surprised if Arsenal get Barcelona as a result of that.

  • Comment number 71.

    Agree on your point that were slightly ragged in the 10 mins before Sami scored and also, big Sol looked a shade out of his depth last night and a quality forward may have capitalised. On the other hand, have you watched Terry lately? Hes nothing special and we have forwards to trouble him or any CB, be they Utds or Chelsea's.

    Mr Mc Nulty, youre a bit like the rest of the media in that you love casting doubt on Arsenal and dredging up reasons to predict failure. Its all 'old hat' and tedious. Yes, Arsenal drive us to despair at times but when it 'happens'(like last night) you and your cronies can keep your love ins with Man U and Chelsea. Not many care any more. Its also noticable how Chelsea have become your new media babes as Liverpool have lurched into meltdown. Who's the next 'babe'? Man C by any chance?

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm sorry but if Hulk had not been out of football for the past few months due to his ban then he would have taken at least one of those chances.

    Don't get me wrong, Arsenal are a great side going forward (arguably the best in Britain - certainly in the most attractive style) but their usual problems at the back were all too apparant yesterday. I think the scoreline was an injustice on Porto who on numerous occasions got themselves into great positions only to see poor finishing in front of goal.

    Campbell and Clichy are not suitable for this level as they are too prone to errors in my honest opinion.

    I take nothing away from Arsenal's attacking play though - and Nasri's goal was something else!

  • Comment number 73.

    If ManU and Chelsea fail to go through this blog is going to look very stupid, not for the first time though!

  • Comment number 74.

    I despair at this continuing denial by both fans making comments here and especially the media who persisently make the same fundamental and subconciously misdirecting namely the well used term "english team"

    "... we are the only English team (Definetly) through to the Q Finals ..."

    It is disrespectful to the many of the 1st team european players who make up the majority of the "english teams".

    Get it right ..just once (and that includes the awful Motson), try and practise mouthing the words "English clubs" when referencing Premiership domination.

    If any english club merits being referenced as an english team ..its the one most of us seem to want to want to hate.

  • Comment number 75.

    Also, just to expand on my point that Arsenal looked uncertain when placed under pressure. Porto had one or two moments before Nasri's goal, and I still worry Arsenal will be too open against superior opposition in the next stages.

    --------------

    Phil, every team has that moment in a game. Bayern had it but came through the tie nonetheless. A superior opposition asks questions of every team. Barca asked of Chelsea and Man Utd last season and they both failed to answer them adequately. A superior team like Everton also asked Utd and chelsea questions which they failed to answer but I remember us answering them.

  • Comment number 76.

    Congratulations, Phil, I think that's as close as anyone could expect to you admitting you've been wrong in writing off Arsenal so many times this season. Not close, it's true, but closer than I ever expected to see.

    You do realise, of course, that you are pretty much exactly the person that Wenger is proving wrong right now? No? I thought not. A little humility goes a long way, you know. You might want to try it. It can be cathartic....

  • Comment number 77.

    Awesome Nasri goal. One of the great individual goals for sure.
    Wenger is a genius, and we play incredible entertaining football. The 1st 45 minutes went in a blur!

    Yes we have been crushed badly by Manu and Chelski earlier on, but 1st let's see if they qualify, then we can beat them (hopefully!)

  • Comment number 78.

    Arsenal fans can't help themselves. They beat a team that would struggle in Division 1, and they now reckon they are a better side than the Brazil side of 1970.

    As has been pointed out already, whenever Arsenal face a decent side they are slapped back down to their proper place in the order of things.

    Here's hoping that Chelsea, Man Utd, Barca or Real Madrid draw these media darlings, then all the Gooners can go back to calling for Whinger's head.

  • Comment number 79.

    Phil,

    Great blog as always. And it is always nice to read the ridiculous comments from some of the Arsenal fans (you know who you are).

    I am curious why you lot feel the need to give Phil so much grief when he is essentially telling it like it is? Does it hurt so much to read it in black and white? You are doing ok this season, and you do have a chance to win some trophies, but you do play poorly sometimes.

    And before everyone gets overly angry with my comments, I love watching Arsenal when they are on top form as they play football like no other team, but their fans can be really biased.

  • Comment number 80.

    Phil, The Negativity that the media has towards Arsenal is unbelievable with you inclusive, You cannot help yourself but have a dig at Arsenal at every opportunity even when it seems like you are trying to praise them;

    When Arsenal does well, its the opposition that is weak, when they dont its the oposition that is strong.. make no mistake this was a strong champions league team which in case you have forgotten Chelsea struggled to overcome in 2 legs at the group stage.

    well, like they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder......

    Arsenal can go all the way in this competition and after that performance last night should not be afraid of any team and rightly so, they may not have won the matches against Man U and Chelsea this season but the Arsenal players have improved a lot this season. I think Chelsea and Man U are vulnerable and can be beaten.

    Even you must admit you could not have predicted the score line, Even Stan Collymore was made to look a little silly after all his critisicm of Arsene.

    Bendtner is one of the brightest prospects in World football who does it for both club and country.

    You may not want to get behind this Arsenal team but their last 4 results should tell you that this team is on the up!!

  • Comment number 81.

    The truth about Arsenal is that they are vulnerable at the back, they are lacking a strong defensive midfielder and a really top class striker up front. Any reasonably decent striker would/should have scored with the opportunities created for Bendtner last night against a relatively poor side like Porto. Why people think that this confirms Bendtner's reputation as a good striker is beyond me. Not only does he miss too many chances but the rest of his game is poor as well. Just look at the number of times he gives the ball away even when a fairly simple pass is all that is required and for someone who is supposed to be a big target man he often does not win the ball in the air.

    Any team can win a game on the night but it's difficult to believe that any neutral can believe that Arsenal will have a really good chance against strong teams like Chelsea or Manchester United in the next round.

  • Comment number 82.

    Let's not forget that Chelsea are in a very difficult position in their tie, and although United are strong favourites, they aren't through yet either.

    I would split my sides if both those teams went out.

    And it's funny how short people's memories are. Arsenal beat United and Chelsea last season, with a side that was worse than the current one, so why can't they beat them again? United did awfully against the other top 4 teams and still won the league and got to the CL final. United didn't get written off like Arsenal seem to, even after they got beaten 4-1 at home by Liverpool!

    Also, Arsenal weren't completely dominated against Utd or Chelsea this season, no matter what the scorelines may suggest. If Arsenal had scored first in any of those 3 defeats (yes yes "ifs and buts".. but they had chances) then things would have been different. To suggest that they have no chance if they draw them in the CL is foolish (aimed more at some of the comments rather than the original blog).

    -----------------------------

    Until you win a trophy, im afraid they will continue to write you off.

  • Comment number 83.

    WordsofWisdom said:
    ###
    As for the guy who suggests that if Utd were missing Rooney or Chelsea, Drogba for most of the season....like they are missing Van Persie....

    Firstly, 2-3 months is not most of the season and secondly, if Arsenal had anything like the defensive problems Utd have had this season then they would be nowhere in sight in either competition.
    ###

    Ahem. RVP was injured and returned to the club on 22nd November. I make that almost 4 months.
    If you want to get mathematical, he has played 15 games (11PL 4CL) so far this season (and looks like that will be all)

    That makes him missing 66% (two thirds) of the games so far and about 75% (three quarters) by the end.

    Like I said, missing for most of the season.

  • Comment number 84.

    SharpShooters11, you definitely need to relax a bit! Even a hardened Arsenal fan would have to admit that at 2-0 and dominating the game that at the back of your minds you knew that it would only take one goal and the game was all level again?? And there were moments before Nasri weaved his magic where Porto had a couple of decent chances, were there not? I think this is all Phil was pointing out.

    As for Arsenal's performance, it was extremely impressive. I have to say I thought that they may stuggle without the influence of Fabregas, put other players stepped up at the right time, particularly Arshavin and Nasri, who I thought both had fantastic games.

    Despite the Bendtner goals, I still don't see him as a long term solution to a main striker at the Emirates, he is just too inconsistent. You never know, he may go on to great things after his hat-trick.....but then I thought the same thing after Michael Owen got his against Wolfsburg!! What do Arsenal fans think of Bendtner? Good enough?

  • Comment number 85.

    Hi Phil,

    Although it was a good performance last night I was expecting Arsenal to go through. The important factor as mentioned already was the third goal. I agree that before Nasri's goal (and what a goal it was!) we were under pressure and if one of Porto's chances had gone in then it would have been a different game all together. However, neither of their chances were clear cut and to focus on them too much would detract from the overall excellent performance.

    I, unlike Wenger, am not confident if we draw Chelsea or Man Utd (or even Inter because of Mourinhno). Both Chelsea and Man Utd know how to play against us and adapt their games accordingly. Wenger needs to spring a tactical surprise, which I think he doesn't do often enough against these two. However, if we were to draw any other team then I would be confident. Barca and Real, for all their attacking prowess, are just as if not more shaky at the back then we are perceived to be and I think we would have the beating of Bayern, Bordeaux & Sevilla over two legs.

  • Comment number 86.

    Phil, The Negativity that the media has towards Arsenal is unbelievable with you inclusive, You cannot help yourself but have a dig at Arsenal at every opportunity even when it seems like you are trying to praise them;

    When Arsenal does well, its the opposition that is weak, when they dont its the oposition that is strong.. make no mistake this was a strong champions league team which in case you have forgotten Chelsea struggled to overcome in 2 legs at the group stage.

    well, like they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder......

    Arsenal can go all the way in this competition and after that performance last night should not be afraid of any team and rightly so, they may not have won the matches against Man U and Chelsea this season but the Arsenal players have improved a lot this season. I think Chelsea and Man U are vulnerable and can be beaten.

    Even you must admit you could not have predicted the score line, Even Stan Collymore was made to look a little silly after all his critisicm of Arsene.

    Bendtner is one of the brightest prospects in World football who does it for both club and country.

    You may not want to get behind this Arsenal team but their last 4 results should tell you that this team is on the up!!

    ------------------------------------

    Getting fed up with all these 'Chelsea struggled against them' they still beat them both home and away remember? and Arsenal lost the 1st leg. besides group stages are completely different, you dont have to beat every team to qualify. Example, Rubin Kuzan beat Barca but that dosent mean Rubin would stand a chance if the match had been a knock-out fixture. The problem is against Chelsea and United or any difficult match for that matter, Wenger dosent have tactics, he plays the same way every time which is why its easy for them nullify their threat, counter them and batter tham.

  • Comment number 87.

    It shouldn't really matter who the Gunners get in the next round...as Arsene says 'Football changes quickly!', so the past counts for very little.

    If you want to reach the top eventually you have to compete against the strongest opponents somewhere along the line, so bring them on. What's the point of trying at all if you believe you'll ultimately get outclassed in the final anyway? Just give the trophy back to Barca now if that's the case!

    'Be positive' Let opponents harp on about the past results if they wish. Does it mean Arsenal are 100% odds on to beat Madrid or Inter because they did it before - NO ofcourse not...therefore surley the same is true of United or Chelsea beating the Gunners again. Not that either of them are even through yet by the way!

    Football is full of opportunity aswell as heartbreak..it's why we love the game so much.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    41 - He was injured in November and Wenger is saying he could be back in 1 month at the earliest, so it is not 2 -3 months, and I think it would make a massive impact on united/chealsea if they had missed their best striker for this long. Your point about injuries to utd's defence is a good one thought and you are correct there.

    51 - We beat Chelsea and united last season, beat chelsea the season before that, and the season before that I believe we beat united twice with proabably an inferior team to what we hae now.

    As you say we were also beaten these two teams a number of times during this period, all im saying is that I think its stupid that people are basically saying if we play united or chelsea we will definately lose as arsenal have beaten these teams only last season and the teams haven't changed that much.

    If arsenal had beaten united twice this season I would be very confident if we drew them in the champions league, however I would still be very wary as united are a top team, just like arsenal, and deserve a bit of respect. If I were to say that its not possible for them to beat us I think that would be stupid.



  • Comment number 90.

    @ 79

    Get real mate!! which football fan is not biased towards their team. By conceding that you love watching Arsenal play football says it all......

    Arsenal has a good record against the teams Chelsea and MAn U have struggled against:

    Arsenal Chelsea MAn U
    Everton (4/6) Everton(1/6) Everton (3/6)
    Aston villa (4/6) Aston Villa(0/3) Aston villa(1/6)

    Man U has proven that you do not have to beat the top 4 teams to win the league, you have to beat everyone else.

  • Comment number 91.

    68. At 09:57am on 10 Mar 2010, youwhat wrote:
    At 09:06am on 10 Mar 2010, bobbieflowers wrote:
    what a goal that was!!!! brilliant, brilliant Nasri

    Bobbie, Bobbie, Bobbie!!
    That would have been a great goal if it had not been for the comical defending, some that my 13 year olds Sunday morning team would have been enbarassed about, please get real!!


    _________________________

    so what 'youwhat' i enjoyed it and i would bet all the tea in china that even in ur dreams u could finish like that

  • Comment number 92.

    It was a touch football of some very fine quality, and taken in isolation it could send some shivers up Chelsea and United spines, It must be however remembered that Arsenal could play so aesthetically only because they were allowed the freedom to have their artistic flair in an unchallenged manner. Porto, by and large seemed to shun any physicality that Arsenal should normally expect from United or Chelsea, especially in the final third.
    Arsenal are good exponents of a style that is very pleasing on the eye; but only if they are allowed to get into their stride. That is why they hit some unyielding walls when they come up against dour defences. I can hardly imagine Nasri going past a defender like a Vidic or a Terry, let alone the three he weaved his way through. I am not distracting from the superlative quality of the gem of a goal but such ideal conditions are hardly likely to obtain with the defenders that he will face in many a PL team.
    For the moment Arsenal have cause for celebration. Euphoria is a very uplifting feeling.

  • Comment number 93.

  • Comment number 94.

    Also, Arsenal weren't completely dominated against Utd or Chelsea this season, no matter what the scorelines may suggest.
    -------------------------------------------------------

    ha ha ha ha!!

    gooners... gotta love em

  • Comment number 95.

    I think we are a better side with Bendtner in it. He has considerably improved his abilty to hold the ball up and is now bringing those players around him into the game. Plus he offers us someone to aim at in the box, which was missing when he was absent. His finishing is a bit hit and miss but that should improve. Henry wasnt the most natural finisher when he arrived at Highbury. But he is 22 and has plenty of time to improve. I really hope van Persie can make a meanigful contribution towards the end of the season though.

  • Comment number 96.

    It was a really good result for Arsenal last night, but i think some temperance needs to be exercised with the result. It was very impressive considering they were without Fabregas, and Nasri stepped up to the plate and put in a wonderful performance. Also, Arshavin showed some signs of the form that caused many in Europe to take note (his pass for the third goal was wonderful!)

    However, it is common when a team trounces another that commentators start bigging them up and saying the rest of Europe will be afraid of them. Simply put, the big teams in Europe will not be overly concerned by this result.

    As a previous post said, Wenger as much as admitted that there is a mental block with his players when facing Man United and Chelsea, and i see no real reason to see why this would change if they were drawn together again.

    Also, a lot of people seem to be thinking that because Arsenal are in touching distance in the league, that they are somehow favourites to win it now. Again, this is misplaced. True they have an easier run in (on paper), but it was also written on paper at the beginning of the season that Liverpool would win the title this year!

    Dont get me wrong, i love Arsenal's way of playing as much as the next neutral, when it comes off it is a delight to see. However, it doesn't always come off, especially against larger, more experienced teams.




  • Comment number 97.

    I love how everyone is assuming that teams such as Manchester, Barcelona, Chelsea and Real automatically qualify for the Q-finals. I agree Barcelona and Manchester seem relatively safe, but both Real and Chelsea are behind and Real do not have an away goal.

    As for if Arsenal face Manchester or Chelsea next round, I would prefer Manchester, but that's assuming Inter get knocked out, which I honestly don't see happening.

    Arsenal are already underdogs again, that's where we like to be..

  • Comment number 98.

    88. At 10:30am on 10 Mar 2010, OFMC111 wrote:
    @ LABSAB9,

    The main reason you want to win the league is so that you can prove Phil Mcnulty wrong?? you should get out more mate. He's no harsher on Arsenal than he is on any other side.

    No mate read my post again!! what i said was i look forward to his "expert" analysis of Arsenals title win (potentially) he does a good enough job himself of proving himself wrong!!

  • Comment number 99.

    In response to the skins:

    TheSkins wrote:
    Let's not forget that Chelsea are in a very difficult position in their tie, and although United are strong favourites, they aren't through yet either.

    Agree with you, - United still have to do a job in the home leg (which I'm confident they will), and Chelsea's progression is still very much in the balance. Phil and manu other members of the media are assuming they are through, which just tempts fate.

    The next bit is what I diagree with.

    TheSkins wrote:

    United did awfully against the other top 4 teams and still won the league and got to the CL final. United didn't get written off like Arsenal seem to, even after they got beaten 4-1 at home by Liverpool!

    And they were right not to write United off, as United went on to win the title. The phrase 'write them off at your peril' anyone.

    Over the years United have overcame setbacks and gone on to win the title, simply this Arsenal side haven't. Probably the most famous example was Hansen's 'you'll never win anything with kids rant' after United were beaten 3-1 on the opening day by Aston Villa. Needless to add United went on to win the double that year, - beating his beloved Liverpool in the FA Cup final!

    United's 4-1 defeat at home to Liverpool was no more emphatic than United's 3-1 defeat of Arsenal at the Emirates, even though the score line indicates this.

    The United v liverpool game reminded me a lot of the Chelsea v City game recently. United and Chelsea having the better of the game but Liverpool and City simply taking their chances. For the first half an hour Liverpool and City were non- existent in attack, then Vidic/ Mikel makes a howler and Liverppol and City equalised. But for Lampard's last minute penalty the games would have been exactly the same, - aprt from United finished with 10 men and Chelsea finished with 9 in these games.


    Anyway hope that answers were United aren't written off and Arsenal are.

    Thanks!

  • Comment number 100.

    A football match in the knockout stage is 180 mins over two legs................as i'm aware from a very early age watching football games..needless to say that ANYTHING can happen in football.....all this man u, chelsea stories is just a waste of time........How many peps would have predicted a 5-0 scoreline over porto at the Emirate? Same porto that have defeated Man U and Chelsea in the last 4/5 seasons.
    My point is plssssssssssss kindly forget about the Man u and Chelsea clash for now.........let them qualify first.....cos for me it's gonna be an uphill task for both teams...........AC MILAN and INTER MILAN are no insipid teams.
    BIG BIG credit goes to the Arsenal team as a whole.........they made porto looked very ordinary over two legs(forget that polish guy's school boy errors). WE DESERVE TO BE IN THE QUARTER FINALS.
    Fabulous solo effort from Nasri......Arshavin was magnificent........pls give Bendtner a chance......and lastly........to the man i respect so much for his footbal philosophy....ARSENE WENGER... his subs were spot on. Now Gooners lets hope we can build on this emphatic victory.........and go all the way............for me with the calibre of players we have............money spent over five seasons......compared to others teams.....WE HAVE DONE EXCELLENTLY WELL.
    A TROPHY WOULD JUST BE A TESTIMONY TO OUR ACHIEVEMENT.

 

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