Saturday 18 January 2020

Three key confrontations

Cesc Fabregas v Raul Meireles

Porto’s defensive midfielder has been an ever-present in the Champions League this season and his destructive play will be key to the home side’s hopes of limiting the effectiveness of Fabregas.

The Spaniard has been enjoying a fine season, already reaching double figures in both goals and assists, and the Gunners captain will look to establish an early foothold in midfield.

Thomas Vermaelen v Hulk

Vermaelen has contributed greatly at both ends in his first season at Arsenal but will need to be on top of his defensive game against the burly forward Hulk. Without the injured William Gallas the Belgian will need to call on all his physical attributes and use his slight height advantage against the 23-year-old.

Hulk resembles the archetypal English centre-forward, whilst also maintaining an element of his Brazilian flair, and will hope to add to his three goals in the competition this season.

Nicklas Bendtner v Bruno Alves

Bendtner has started just one Champions League game this season and will be under significant pressure to perform in the absence of the injured Andrei Arshavin. He will be expected to use his height and power to lead the line alone against an experienced performer in Alves. The 28-year-old has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and will be out to impress potential suitors.

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