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Arsenal looking to mark Wenger landmark with win
Mike Collett | September 26, 2006 16:32 IST
Arsene Wenger will be hoping to celebrate 10 years as Arsenal manager this week with what would be a hugely symbolic victory over Porto at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
The dazzling new 60,000-capacity all-seater stadium stands as a testament to the success Wenger has brought to the club over the last decade.
There would be no better way for Arsenal to mark such a significant milestone than with a victory in their first match in the Champions League proper at the stadium over the club that were European Cup winners three seasons ago.
After seeing off Dinamo Zagreb in a qualifying match there a month ago, Arsenal start as favourites to win their first group phase match at home with another three points following their opening 2-1 Group G win in Hamburg two weeks ago.
Porto, held to a 0-0 draw by CSKA Moscow in their opening game, are likely to find last season's European Cup runners-up far tougher opponents than the Russian side -- and are likely to be left with one point from a possible six after Tuesday's game.
The sides have never met competitively before but both approach the game buoyed by 3-0 home wins in their domestic league matches.
Arsenal beat Sheffield United 3-0 for their first Premier League win at their new ground on Saturday, while Porto thumped Beira Mar 3-0 on Friday to maintain their 100 percent start to the domestic season with four wins from four matches.
Wenger is likely to field the team that beat Sheffield United as his side begins take shape after an uncharacteristically slow start to the season.
Porto midfielder Raul Meireles, who has been absent for two weeks due to a foot injury during training, will return for the game against Arsenal, but captain Pedro Emanuel will be absent.
"The team is ready. It is always good to win a challenge as big as the one against Arsenal," said coach Jesualdo Ferreira after Porto beat Beira March
One player particularly keen to do well against Arsenal will be striker Helder Postiga, who had a frustrating season across North London at Tottenham Hotspur three seasons ago and would relish the chance of scoring against his former club's arch-rivals.
Arsenal: 1-Jens Lehmann; 27-Emmanuel Eboue, 5-Kolo Toure, 20-Johan Djourou, 3-William Gallas; 8-Fredrik Ljungberg, 4-Cesc Fabregas, 19-Gilberto, 7-Tomas Rosicky; 25-Emmanuel Adebayor, 14-Thierry Henry
Porto: 1-Helton; 12-Jose Bosingwa, 3-Pepe, 14-Bruno Alves, 5-Marek Cech; 16-Raul Meireles, 8-Lucho Gonzalez, 10-Anderson, 11-Tarik Sektioui; 23-Helder Postiga, 9-Lisandro Lopez.
Referee: Stefano Farina (Italy)