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Arsenal injury boost, much to take to UCL return leg

The coming few weeks are set to be pivotal for Arsenal’s season. They are contesting on two fronts and the coming weeks will determine their season, as far as winning titles is concerned. As things stand, The Gunners are in contention for the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League. Yet going into the crucial days, the North Londoners are not in the best standing in both competitions, not to mention the teams they are set to face aren’t pushovers at all.

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In the Premier League, they are third, behind much stronger Liverpool and Manchester City, and with a lot of lessons to learn from their late capitulation last season, which saw them miss out on the league title. There are a lot of moving parts in their Premier League chase and things can change in their favor even without being in action.

The Arsenal run in recent times can be a meal for punters seeking interesting bets across bookies reviewed for their offers and promotions at The Gunners can rely on one or two sides in the league to throw them a favor but it is in the Champions League that they seem to be pinned in a tight corner.

Stakes raised

Returning to the Champions League after a long hiatus, it was deemed a positive for Arsenal just to be at the group stages. However, the stakes are for sure elevated and the Gunners, their fans and a number of pundits believe they are favorites to mount a challenge for the big ears.

How this pans out will be determined in the next few weeks. Arsenal are already trailing Porto in the last 16 after losing 1-0 in the first leg match away in Portugal, where it is increasingly becoming tricky for the Gunners. The North Londoners were largely frustrated by Porto, denying them a shot on target before scoring a late winner to shock the side that had scored 21 times in the previous six matches.

The loss aside, Arsenal have a lot of positives to look to. Firstly, they will review this game with the knowledge that they have a second chance in the return leg. Arsenal will also want to take full advantage of playing at home in this game, having done well at home this season.

Available resources

The biggest part of the return leg will consist of how Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta makes use of the players at his disposal. To start with, Arteta will have at least two more players coming back from injury and available for this game.

Thomas Partey started training ahead of the first leg though the manager deemed it wise to allow him more rest time. Then there is the workhorse Takehiro Tomiyasu who is back after the Asian Cup. These two will provide great defensive cover just in case Porto want to put the game beyond Arsenal’s reach. There’s also a chance Champions League specialist Gabriel Jesus could be back from a knee injury in time to boost the attack.

Whichever way this is looked at, the Gunners will be a much stronger unit going into the return leg with FC Porto, both in will and in squad strength. Barring any more injuries, they will go into the game as favorites to oust Porto. 


The published material expresses the position of the author, which may not coincide with the opinion of the editor.

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