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Key talking points as Arsenal beat Porto on penalties
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Danny Ryan at the Emirates
David Raya was Arsenal's match-winner against Porto
David Raya was Arsenal's match-winner against Porto

Arsenal have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2010 after beating Porto 4-2 on penalties.

Leandro Trossard put the Gunners 1-0 ahead late in the first half to level up the tie on aggregate but they could not find a second goal to avoid the dreaded shootout.

However, the hero of the night David Raya saved spot-kicks from Porto pair Wendell and Galeno to secure Mikel Arteta side's place in Friday's draw.

Read on as we analyse the key talking points.

David the man

Earlier on in the season, Raya's place in the Arsenal team was the subject of huge debate.

The summer loan signing from Brentford made a few errors after dethroning Aaron Ramsdale but his heroics against Porto only further boost his status as the team's undisputed No1.

Raya expertly saved from Brazilian duo Wendell and Galeno in the first Champions League shootout since the 2016 final, each time diving smartly to his left to spark scenes of wild celebration inside the stadium.

The Spaniard was a calming influence throughout the match with the ball at his feet too, while also making several smart stops in the tense 120 minutes of action.

Electric Emirates

Almost exactly seven years ago, Arsenal fans at the Emirates watched on as there team were dumped out the Champions League by Bayern Munich in ruthless fashion.

A 5-1 victory for the current Bundesliga champions secured an emphatic 10-2 aggregate win, with the home crowd unsurprisingly in a sombre mood even before kick-off in that second leg.

But this time around, the stadium was electric as supporters drowned out the passionate Porto contingent with a cacophony of noise to further motivate the players through the course of a fairly frustrating evening.

The latest example yet that the Emirates atmosphere is slowly becoming one of the best in European football.

Captain's contribution

Just when it looked like Porto's clever mastering of the darks arts — headed by a stellar display from 41-year-old captain Pepe — would dampen the atmosphere and see the visitors through to the break, up stepped Arsenal's own skipper Martin Odegaard.

In a first half where the Gunners were denied space time and time again, the Norway international delivered a 41st-minute assist glistening with magic.

Some fancy footwork created a small opening on the edge of the box and what followed was a perfect defence-splitting ball right into Trossard's path.

And the Belgian, filling in for the injured Gabriel Martinelli on the left, coolly slotted a shot past Diogo Costa to cancel out Galeno's superb last-minute winner from three weeks ago.

No easy ride

Arsenal have trampled over opponents with ease of late in their quest to win the Premier League title but both legs against a streetwise and defensively astute Porto outfit proved much trickier.

Even after a 1-0 defeat in Portugal last month, the Gunners were expected to comfortably seal progression when back on home soil.

But Sergio Conceicao's men, third in the Primeira Liga, proved they were more than a match for their English opponents.

The North Londoners needed a moment of brilliance just to level the tie and other than that, chances were few and far between.

At a time when there are notions of the Champions League becoming too predictable, Porto reminded Arsenal there are no easy games when the knockout stages come around.


Champions LeagueArsenalFC Porto
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