Full-time - 90'
0 - 0
19:45 +00:00, December 6, 2006
Estadio do Dragao, Portugal
That was quite possibly the strangest game of football I have commentated on. I'm sorry I couldn't bring you more entertainment but the last 20 minutes were a non event. Arsenal go through as Group G winners while Porto claim second spot.
FULL-TIME: PORTO 0-0 ARSENAL
The fat lady has gone to the mike and she's ready for the first verse. A minute of stoppage time remaining and the final whistle can't come soon enough. By the way, Hamburg have scored again. That makes it 3-2 and game set and match for these two sides.
The fans aren't too happy about the way things are panning out but they'll be cheering away in two minutes time when their team are through to the next round.
I would give you some wonderful prose on all the chances and slick moves being put together but there simply hasn't been any. It has become a training session and the Arsenal centre-backs have been playing keep ball for the last five minutes.
The Porto coach gets instructions to his players to slow things down. Any slower and they'll be in reverse.
Another switch for Porto and Ibson comes on for Merireles.
Hamburg are back in it against Moscow. That helps these two sides. This game could change in an instant though and neither side is safe yet.
Arsenal are playing it across the back four and Porto are happy for the ball to be there. I can't see too much sweat on the brows of the players out there, I've built up more steam putting this commentary together, mind you, the air conditioning is working tonight.
Porto follow suit and Helder Postiga makes way for Bruno Moraes.
Arsenal finally make their change and van Persie comes on for Adebayor to lead the line.
It's a rather strange atmosphere here. You almost feel like there's a gentleman's agreement to play out a draw. There's not obviously but both teams have eased off the pace in the last five minutes.
Porto continue to press and have no problems in forcing set-pieces. Arsenal just cannot keep the ball.
I really have lost count how many times Arsenal have given the ball away. Fabregas has been the chief culprit, with Gilberto closely behind him.
He's back on his feet and the referee gets the game going again as Robin van Persie strips off on the touchline. An Arsenal change is imminent.
Oh dear. Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann has fallen awkwardly and hurt his ankle. The physio is on but the German should be ok.
Despite only needing a draw, Porto are throwing men forward at every opportunity. And Arsenal are giving them plenty of opportunities to do so. Needless foul number 58 is committed by Hleb.
Even Fabregas is giving the ball away. It's a very disjointed performance from Arsenal.
Each time Porto come forward they look like causing a threat. This time Lopez gets well forward but the linesman raises his flag and denies him.
Interesting news from Hamburg as Moscow regain the lead. That means that if either side concede a goal here. Moscow will be heading through.
Every time they lose possession however, the Portuguese side drive forward and look to expose the Gunners' defence.
Wenger's side look content in retaining possession. It's not the flowing Arsenal side we're used to seeing.
Freddie Ljungberg finds himself unmarked in the box after Gilberto's threaded pass. A poor touch from the Swede enables the defender to recover.
A moment of reprieve for Arsenal as they string together a succession of crisp passes. More is needed though, they look ragged when under the cosh.
The home fans are roaring their side on and Assuncao whips in another dangerous cross. Djourou is there to clear.
The Gunners can't seem to get out of their own half. They're simply not comfortable in trying to hold on for results. They're hemmed in here and Porto are gaining momentum with every pass.
Arsenal are rocking and the home fans sense that their team is on the verge of breaking Arsenal down. So for that matter do I!
How many times are Arsenal going to give the ball away? Djourou is at fault this time and Quaresma nips in and hits a clean low strike beyond Lehmann and hits the same post he struck just 10 minutes ago. A real let-off for Arsenal.
Quaresma has looked a handful and has given Clichy are working over. He beats the Frenchman again and fires in a cross that Lehmann gathers in.
Lovely move from Arsenal this time. Great passing and moving but in the end it's overplayed and Porto can clear. Arsenal can cause Porto problems when they raise the tempo, but they just don't seem keen on doing so.
The game has opened up now and Porto look keen to up the pace.
Porto are gaining in confidence and create another sweeping move. Lopez almost connects with a volley from Assuncao's cross. Djourou does well to intercept. Surely Porto won't need too many more invitations?
With Henry and van Persie off the pitch, Fabregas takes over free-kick duties and bends one over the wall but safely into the arms of Helton from 20 yards.
What a chance for Porto! A fantastic move down the right from Assancao who cuts the ball back behind the defenders for Quaresma who drills his shot against the post. What a let off for Arsenal.
Arsenal created all their own problems in the first half and they have made a couple already this half. I can't remember the last time I saw Arsenal so cautious.
Arsene Wenger belatedly takes his seat on the Arsenal bench and sees Quaresma fly past him down the touchline.
Marcus Merk blows his whistle and we're back underway!
No stoppage time and the ref calls this tepid affair to a halt. Arsenal will need to raise their game in the second half as they have shown very little guile so far.
HALF TIME: PORTO 0-0 ARSENAL
Porto begin to build from the back and look far more confident on the ball. Quaresma has even produced a couple of party tricks already.
A few minutes to go and Arsenal produce their best move so far. Fabregas plays in a lovely pass to Hleb who breaks through the Porto defence but is unable to pick out a red shirt in the box.
What a hit from Assuncao. It didn't look to be troubling Lehmann when it set off, but a wicked bend on the ball took it out of the German's reach and almost in. Wonderful effort.
Is that the Arsenal fans I can here? I think it is. Well they must be enjoying their holiday because I'm not enjoying this game that much. A very strange encounter.
Toure has had a few cracks from distance this season but you won't trouble many goalkeepers from 40 yards, Kolo. Woefully wide.
You sense that Porto have grown in confidence in seeing Arsenal stutter. They look the most likely to score.
It's been a strange game so far and the situation has affected Arsenal most. The build-up has been slow and the midfield five have shown precious little ambition.
Better from Arsenal, Fabregas and Flamini combine and the Frenchman hits a half-volley that is deflected wide. Not good, but the best yet from Arsenal.
At last a spell of possession for the visitors. Fabregas tries to get something going but the Porto defence looks more than comfortable handling that half-hearted break.
Drama in the Manchester United match as Benfica take the lead. My collegue is covering that match by the way and he says it was a screamer of a goal.
Arsenal are well and truly on the back foot as Porto sense they can break them down. Arsenal haven't done anything yet and could well be punished if they don't raise their game.
Better news from Germany as Hamburg pull one back. But the outcome of the group will be settled here first, who will take the inititive?
Worrying times for Arsenal now as Porto increase the pressure on the Gunners back four. A goal scramble ensues but Arsenal clear. They're getting hemmed in here.
Quaresma has just tried something quite spectacular. I would describe it for you but I'm not sure I can. Let's just say he was a long way out and he managed to get air on a flick chip that seemed impossible.
Bad news for these sides. It's cat amongst the pigeons time now. News has reached me that Moscow have taken the lead in Hamburg. That changes the mentality of the group completely.
Quaresma has started the liveliest. That's twice he has broke down the left and caused Eboue a few problems.
It's a packed out midfield and most of the play is being played insdie the centre circle.
Postiga registers the first shot on target. The former Spurs striker hits a tame half-volley straight at Lehmann from 25 yards.
No one from the Arsenal camp have managed to get into the game thus far. Ljungberg seemed as if he wanted to but has gone off the boil in the last five minutes.
I must be honest, Arsenal's passing has been poor so far. They need to rectify it and quick. Porto are far too good to keep giving them the ball.
Long shots are the order of the day so far for the hosts. Postiga tries his luck from a lon, long way out and flies into row F.
Porto are five points clear at the top of their league and have a proud record of late. Only one goal conceded in their last five games shows exactly what Arsenal are up against.
A little bit better from Arsenal as Fabregas tries to get things moving. Only problem is, he gives the ball to Flamini who hoists an aimless ball straight through to Helton in the Porto goal.
But the lanky African is outnumbered up there andwilol need some support if Arsenal are to break.
Arsenal aren't seeing much of the ball yet. They look like they are happy and content in chasing the ball around in the middle of the park, leaving the solitary Adebayor to pick his nose up front.
Hleb is caught in possession this time and Lucile tries a clever turn and whips in a decent cross. Toure is there to head clear, but another warning sign for Arsenal.
Arsenal give it away again and allow Meireles to have a pop from range. It's sliced wide to Lehmann's relief.
Porto's record at Estadio do Dragao is impressive. They haven't lost here for 25 matches. Respect!
Porto begin to take control now and Arsenal are forced on the back foot temporarily. The Gunners have been guilty of giving the ball away needlessly. They'll have to settle those nerves.
Sloppy play at the back from Arsenal as Gilberto is almost caught out after a poor pass from Eboue. Postiga was on hand to pick his pocket had he missed it.
Ljungberg looks in the mood, a couple of bursts down the Arsenal left force Alves to track back.
It's not quite a full house tonight, which is surprising considering what is at stake.
Gilberto concedes a free-kick allowing Porto to launch one into the box. Lehmann comes out to meet it but Pepe beats him to it and heads well over the bar.
The crowd are in fine fettle, the drummer is in the building and he's trying to whip up an early frenzy in the stands.
It's a relaxed start. Both sides eager to retain the ball and build up some momentum.
There's not a single player in the Porto side that was present in their 2004 success. Arsenal, remember reached the final last year, only to fall to Barcelona.
We're underway in Porto!
Arsenal have opted for a more defensive approach as Flamini starts in midfield ahead of van Persie. Both teams will go through with a point. But playing for a point is a gamble neither side can afford to take with Moscow ready to pounce.
Well here we go! I don't know about you but I'm really excited. The final round of group games are set to get underway and we're here for Arsenal's decider against Porto. Sit tight, stay glued and enjoy!
Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie