Arsenal’s defeat of Porto can fuel English title bid

REUTERS – Arsenal’s penalty shootout victory against Porto on Tuesday not only snapped their Champions League last-16 jinx but could also fuel their belief as they try to hold off Liverpool and Manchester City in the English league title race.
David Raya’s two penalty saves ensured Arsenal reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years after a tense tie against the two-time European champions ended 1-1 on aggregate.
It maintained the momentum that Mikel Arteta’s squad have built up with eight successive Premier League victories and keeps them chasing silverware on two fronts.
As the emotion poured out inside the Emirates it felt like a psychological turning point for Arsenal as they ended a run of seven successive last-16 exits in the Champions League.
With no FA Cup involvement this weekend and then the international break, Arsenal will not play again until March 31 when they go to Manchester City in a crunch title clash.
But after overcoming a crafty Porto side they will now head to City with renewed belief.
“The energy that it brings amongst the squad, amongst the club it’s really powerful,” Arteta said.
Forward Bukayo Saka said the result sets Arsenal up perfectly for the rest of the season.
“Right now, we’re top of the league and we’re into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and we’re going into the international break,” the England international said.
“This result gives us a lot of momentum, a lot of belief that we can go to the Etihad and get a good result.”
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Arsenal’s progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League will be a huge confidence boost in the run-in.
“It would have been a downer if they had lost this tonight and gone into the City game, of course they are out of the FA Cup, but now this keeps it ticking along beautifully,” he said. “The players grow from it, there’s a lot of confidence now.”

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