Porto v Arsenal: Back early goals in a 13/2 Bet Builder

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard gesturing
Arsenal topped their Champions League group but won only one of their three away games

Tom Victor previews Arsenal's trip to Portugal in the Champions League as the English side look to break their round of 16 hoodoo...

  • Arsenal have poor last-16 record

  • Porto chasing third straight home win

  • Gunners start fast in Europe

  • Read about Betfair's 90 minute payout offer here

  • Porto v Arsenal
    Wednesday, 20:00
    TNT Sports 1

    Arsenal's resurgence in the Premier League has taken them back into title contention, but Mikel Arteta's team now need to find out how they'll cope with the added distraction of Champions League football.

    The Gunners beat Burnley in their last league outing, with four different players scoring in a 5-0 away win. That makes it five wins on the spin in the league, with a total of 21 goals scored, to leave them second after the weekend's action.

    European opponents Porto sit third in their table ahead of their game against Arsenal. Defeat against Benfica in their last away game left Sérgio Conceiçao's team playing catch-up, though they did rebound by beating Estrela da Amadora at home.

    Arsenal with a record to protect

    Arsenal and Porto have met three times in the Champions League before, but only once in the knockout rounds. On that occasion, the first leg went the way of the Portuguese side but a Nicklas Bendtner hat-trick in the return game saw Arsenal run out 6-2 aggregate winners.

    It's a familiar story for Porto. They've lost all three trips to the Emirates Stadium with an aggregate scoreline of 11-0, but have an unbeaten record against the Gunners at the Dragão.


    Porto also won two of their three home group games - 2-0 against Royal Antwerp and 5-3 against Shakhtar Donetsk - after losing their home opener to Barcelona. They're 4/15.00 to earn a third home win on the spin in this competition.

    Porto's English struggles

    Porto go into the game as the underdogs, with Opta giving them just a 1.3% chance of winning the tournament compared to Arsenal's 6.8%. They will play the first leg at home because they only managed a runner-up finish in their group, with Barcelona finishing level on points but with a superior head-to-head record.

    The Portuguese side's record against English opponents is rather dismal. In eight knockout matches, they have lost on aggregate on six occasions.

    They might take inspiration from the one exception, though, when they overcame Manchester United en route to winning the 2003-04 edition of the tournament. The first leg of that was a 2-1 Porto win, and they're 14/115.00 to win by that scoreline against an Arsenal team whose only group stage loss was by the same scoreline at Lens.

    Back Porto +1 @ 11/102.11

    Bet here

    Arteta's fast starters

    If the hosts are to keep Arsenal at bay, stopping an early goal could be the key. Arteta's men have scored six first-half goals in their last two league games, while their record in the Champions League is equally impressive.

    Arsenal's 12 first-half goals in this season's group stage represents the best return in the competition, despite them only scoring 16 group goals in total. They're also on a Champions League record run of 13 straight games with a first-half goal, last failing to score before the break in a 1-1 draw away to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2016-17 group stage.

    Back more than 1.5 first-half goals @ 2/13.00

    Bet here

    The Premier League side are 8/111.73 to score in the first half in Portugal and 5/42.25 to lead at half-time. Top scorer Bukayo Saka was responsible for two of those 12 first-half goals in the group stage, and is 12/53.40 to score at any time on Wednesday.

    Porto v Arsenal prediction

    Both teams will know it's hard to win a Champions League knockout tie in the first leg but it's very possible to lose it. Arsenal's last Champions League journey brought a 5-1 first-leg defeat against Bayern Munich which left them out for the count before another North London hammering, while Porto's last round of 16 win saw them take a narrow lead to Juventus before scraping through on the away goals rule.

    Arsenal have struggled at this stage of the tournament in the past, losing their last seven round of 16 ties. The last time they won at this stage, though, it was against Porto.

    We've got our eye on the Bet Builder market ahead of this game, where we anticipate early goals in what could prove to be a tight affair. Porto +1 and more than 1.5 first-half goals can be backed at 13/27.50.

    Back Porto +1 and >1.5 first-half goals @ 13/27.50

    Bet here

    Now read more Champions League tips

Tom's P/L for the 2023/24 season

Staked: 46.00pts

Returned: 26.62pts

P/L: -19.38pts

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