Porto stops Arsenal dead | Soccer | Sports

The Oporto reef, a stone that opened the hull of so many illustrious ships on the European Cup route, made a hole in Arsenal when it was sailing under full sail. The English team had just scored 0-6 and 0-5 in their visits to West Ham and Burnley. He was adorned with his Premier League pride of reference. A surprise awaited him. Porto submitted him from start to finish. Up and down. When the referee looked at the clock, in the last minute of stoppage time, Galeno made it 1-0 with a shot from outside the area.


Diogo Costa, Otávio, Joao Mario, Wendell (Stephen Eustáquio, min. 89), Pepe, Wanderson Galeno, Pepê, Alan Varela, Nico González (Iván Jaime, min. 80), Francisco Conceição (Gonçalo Borges, min. 85) and Evanilson (Toni Martínez, min. 85)


David Raya, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, William Saliba, Ben White, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Martinelli and Trossard (Jorginho, 73 mins)

Goals 1-0 min. 93: Wanderson Galeno.

Referee Serdar Gözübüyük

Yellow cards Declan Rice (1 min), Francisco Conceição (51 mins), Jakub Kiwior (56 mins), Kai Havertz (60 mins) and Nico Gonzalez (62 mins)

Arsenal’s highest-paid player is, day in and day out, the one who participates the least in the game. Kai Havertz’s situation in the London team reveals an enigma. Even though Mikel Arteta – the only supporter of his signing, which amounted to 70 million euros last summer – continually calls the band to give him instructions like someone tutoring a disciple in trouble, the German still does not define the role. of the. He nominally appears as interior, behind the false nine. The fact is that he is almost always out of the play. If a midfielder must be a man specially trained to imagine and discover passing lines with his teammates, Havertz seems destined to do exactly the opposite. As he passes by, the lines are interrupted. Havertz only appears lucid once he steps into the area, where he takes advantage of plays created by others. Even for Trossard, a winger who played as a striker in Porto and who had more impact on his team’s internal game.

Havertz’s absence in the play-making area was a serious problem against Porto. Against a rival competent in pressing, well covered by the old Pepe (40 years old) and better managed by three interiors with a trade like Varela, Nico González and Gabriel Aquino, the path to the goal became endless for Arsenal. As much as Odegaard and Rice worked overtime to advance meters, the resistance they encountered, added to the lack of support from the supposed third interior, exceeded their circulation capacity. Having lost control of the ball in the first half, the English team gave up control of the field and was left with doubts. When soccer players train to dominate, feeling dominated leads them to confusion.

Humble in its approach, Porto made a virtue of simplicity. There where Arsenal tried to apply their famous man-to-man forward pressure, Pepe and his teammates jumped lines in search of the fast Evanilson and Galeno. Once the ball was divided, they all gathered to compete for it in the midfield, numerically surpassing their opponents. Guys with an attacking vocation like Francisco Conceiçao—the coach’s son—or Gabriel Aquino, stood out for their tireless willingness to move to get away or to ask for it. The enthusiasm was enough for Arsenal to expose themselves to receiving a blow. Galeno almost gave it to him, who sent the shot to the post after Varela and Gabriel Aquino escaped the pressure with a succession of brave left and counter left.

Arteta, without reaction

The second half resumed with the same fatigue for Arsenal. The splendorous team that aspires to win the Premier was incapacitated on a field where it had never been able to win in its history. Populated by footballers emigrated from Brazil who feel despised by the opulent English league, pushed towards a European tournament as if they were not worth what Martinelli or Magalhaes, their countrymen, are worth. gunners, The Porto footballers competed for each ball as if in each incident their professional claim was settled. The fate of their careers was at stake.

Pepe stood in front of the troop. The centre-back, who is already the oldest player to play in the Champions League, performed as if his years had not weighed him down in direct actions against Trossard, Martinelli and Havertz. Defesna intuitive and elastic like few others, he handled himself in open spaces like the living room of his house. Arsenal did not have a single shot on goal. If it had not been for an urgent intervention by Rice, Porto would have gone ahead after a play by Gabriel Aquino and Evanilson, after the hour mark.

Arsenal did not react. Arteta did not react either. Where Sergio Conceiçao, his counterpart, made five changes, the San Sebastian native made only one: Trossard for Jorginho. The double pivot did not help him save the 0-0. Havertz played until the last minute.

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