FC PORTO v/s ARSENAL
TONIGHT - ITV 1, KO 7.45
IT MAY have seemed unlikely when he signed for Notts County six months ago, but veteran defender Sol Campbell is poised to make a sensational Champions League comeback tonight when Arsenal face Porto.
The 35-year-old, who rejoined the Gunners on a free transfer in January, is set to start against the Portuguese title-winners after William Gallas was ruled out of the last 16 first leg clash with a calf injury.
Campbell, who scored on his last appearance in the competition as Arsenal lost the 2006 final to Barcelona, and centre-back partner Thomas Vermaelen will be tasked with stopping Porto’s muscular Brazilian striker Hulk.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger admits a side missing several key players, including goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, midfielder Alex Song and forwards Eduardo and Andrey Arshavin, face a tough task to reach the last eight.
Wenger hinted he was leaning towards selecting Campbell because he provides the team with greater balance than the alternative, Mikael Silvestre.
“It is a possibility that I don’t rule out at the moment because if he [Campbell] doesn’t play there it would mean you play with two left-footed players [Vermaelen and Silvestre] that I don’t really like,” he said.
“What it means to him is that he can show that his signing was worth doing and that he can help us to go through to the last eight. “Can we make a good result with all the players who don’t go to Porto? I’m convinced yes.”
Of the task facing Campbell, Wenger added: “Hulk is a powerful boy. He has tremendous pace and power so we will want to keep him quiet.”