Arsenal ready to 'make history'

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal FC can "make history" and overturn a 2-1 deficit against an FC Porto side with a fine record of defending first-leg leads, despite the absence of captain Cesc Fàbregas.

Arsenal ready to 'make history'
Arsenal ready to 'make history' ©

Arsenal FC must attempt to overcome a 2-1 UEFA Champions League first knockout round deficit against FC Porto without injured captain Cesc Fàbregas, but manager Arsène Wenger believes his charges can "make history" against opponents who have progressed on each of the last 24 occasions they built a home-leg advantage in Europe.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
There's always something new in our game so we can innovate and change history. The team has a good chance to make history. We are very young and in a strong position and, of course, we want to win. Scoring away from home is still a massive advantage under UEFA rules and that's why we are confident we can do it.

In the first game, Porto defended well. I don't think they will be ultra-defensive. We conceded unusual goals in the first game so we want a better defensive performance and we want to score goals. We know it's a tricky game, as it always is in the Champions League against an opponent of Porto's quality, but we believe we can do it. We are confident and are in a good position, so let's go for it.

Jesualdo Ferreira, Porto coach
We need to have confidence in what we do as the game will probably be decided by small details. The balance of the game and how the result pans out will be decisive so we don't need to talk about different scenarios which might happen. At Porto we know what our qualities are and we are confident. We know it will be a difficult match but we have the weapons to make it difficult for Arsenal.

We know the [first-leg] goal they scored puts them in a very good position. For that reason we need to fight, be positive, get a good result and qualify. Last year we reached the quarter-finals and our objective is to do that again. I want to put right the fact that Porto have not won in England before – there's always a first time for everything.

Team news
Kieran Gibbs (broken foot), Johan Djourou (knee), Robin van Persie (ankle), William Gallas (calf), Aaron Ramsey (broken leg),Cesc Fàbregas (hamstring)
Doubtful: none
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked:
Gaël Clichy, Cesc Fàbregas, Robin van Persie

• Fàbregas was ruled out following a scan on Monday after a recurrence of the hamstring tightness that kept him out for three weeks last month. "We cannot even take a gamble," Wenger said. "To play him again would risk significant damage to the muscle."

• First-leg scorer Sol Campbell has recovered from the groin problem that kept him out at the weekend.

Ernesto Farías (knee), Fernando (thigh)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked:
Álvaro Pereira, Fernando

Weekend results
06/03/10 Arsenal 3-1 Burnley FC
(Fàbregas 34, Walcott 60, Arshavin 90+4; Nugent 50)

• Arsenal moved level with Premier League leaders Chelsea FC on Saturday before Manchester United FC's evening victory took them two points clear of the London pair.

• Fàbregas equalled Robert Pirès's club record of 14 goals from midfield in a Premier League season before limping off, while Theo Walcott ended a 19-match scoreless run for club and country.

06/03/10 Porto 2-2 SC Olhanense
(Falcao 81, Guarín 90+2; Djalmir 13 17)

• Porto, whose 14-game unbeaten run was ended with a 3-0 defeat at Sporting Clube de Portugal on 28 February, are outside the top two spots in the Liga at this stage of the season for the first time since 2001/02.

• Falcao now has 15 goals from 15 games and 24 in all competitions for Porto this season.

• Porto have progressed in the last 24 two-legged UEFA competition ties in which they were defending an advantage away from home. Arsenal have only managed to overturn one such deficit in nine attempts.

Did you know?
• Porto have lost all six of their trips to London including a 1-0 loss at Chelsea in this season's group stage and 4-0 defeat by Arsenal last season.

Read more on the match in the official UEFA Champions League press kit.