Arsenal have new undroppable for Porto clash as Gunners eye away win | Football | Sport

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Arsenal return to Champions League action on Wednesday night when they take on Porto at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal. The Gunners have not reached the quarter-finals of the competition since 2009-10, falling at the round of 16 stage in each of their last seven attempts to reach the last eight.

Arsenal are heavy favourites against a Porto team seven points off leaders Benfica in Liga Portugal. They were heavily fancied to win the tie when the draw was made last month but even more so now, given their recent form.

Riding a five-match winning streak, Arsenal have scored 21 goals and conceded just twice in that run. They have won their last two games, both away from home in the Premier League, 6-0 and 5-0 against West Ham and Burnley respectively.

And a major contributor in those victories has been the lively Leandro Trossard, who has made himself undroppable after scoring in all of the last three contests. He has found himself in the team in Gabriel Jesus’ absence but even when the Brazilian returns, right now, Trossard does not deserve to moved out of the side.

While he could’ve had more goals to his name at Burnley on Saturday, the Belgium international won a penalty and scored a late fifth at Turf Moor as he again impressed in a false nine role. Trossard dovetailed well with Kai Havertz, who started in midfield but regularly interchanged positions with his team-mate.

Speaking after a similar impact in the win over West Ham, Mikel Arteta explained: “It’s something very different. The way I had the game in my head, and the spaces that they leave, I thought Leo with Kai in those positions could hurt them the most. Something else is the execution. Credit to them because they’ve done really well.”

Arteta added after the win over Burnley: “I think the threat, the purpose, the activity and the connections of the players are flowing and they really want it. We have momentum now and we have to maintain it.

“You see the purpose when we’re playing that we always want to play forwards and be a threat. The players up front feel really connected at the moment. That’s a different story because it gives us much more tranquillity to finish the games off.”

From their attack struggling to convert their chances, Arsenal are suddenly killers in the final third. Trossard is not solely responsible for Arsenal’s impressive reversal in attacking fortunes but he has been making a significant impact.

And the Belgian can have a major say once again versus Porto, who have 40-year-old former Real Madrid man Pepe in central defence. The Gunners will hope to pull the Portuguese veteran into uncompromising positions with Havertz and Trossard regularly changing positions.

Trossard is now Arsenal’s second-highest goalscorer this season on 10 and also has two assists. And while Jesus could be back in the squad in Portugal, it is Trossard who should get the nod. His blossoming partnership with Havertz can help blow yet another team away on the road.



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