By Chris Harris

Johan Djourou expects Emmanuel Eboue to bounce back quickly from his weekend woes.

The Ivorian returned from a six-week absence when he replaced the injured Samir Nasri during the first half of Arsenal's 1-0 win against Wigan but was taken off in stoppage time after struggling on the left flank. Eboue's substitution was cheered by some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd and he was distraught as he left the pitch.

Tonight's Champions League game at Porto is an opportunity for Eboue to put Saturday's episode behind him and Djourou expects his team-mate to respond in the right manner.

"The players are all supportive of Emmanuel because he is a great guy," said Djourou at his pre-match press conference. "We all love him and he is a strong character as well so he will bounce back straight away. It was a hard moment for us because we weren't expecting it but we are around him and very supportive to him."

A debate has raged in the days since the Wigan game over the Arsenal crowd's treatment of Eboue. Djourou admits he was surprised by the jeers the Ivorian received but accepted that the fans have every right to air their opinions.

"Of course we were surprised," said Djourou. "You expect your own fans to back your players on the pitch - especially you don't want anyone on the pitch to be criticised.

"We were a bit surprised but at the end they have the right to say what they think and what they view and we have to respect that. But at the same time we were a bit disappointed because we didn't expect that."

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10 Dec 2008