By Nick Teale
Arsenal's timely clean sheet against Liverpool has reinforced Arsène Wenger's belief that the Gunners can travel to Porto and come home with a win on Wednesday night.
Defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea had cranked up the pressure ahead of Liverpool's visit to Emirates Stadium, but Arsenal responded with a solid defensive performance, keeping Rafael Benitez's side at bay for the first time in 12 meetings.
Wenger believes the shut-out couldn't have come at a better time for his team with a true test of their mettle on the horizon at Porto in the Champions League.
"We know that when you go to Porto you need a solid defensive performance," he said.
"I was reassured on Wednesday - that was maybe the biggest part of our game against Liverpool. We looked solid defensively for the first time in the last three big games, and that was vital before you go out for a Champions League game.
"I believe in the first leg our defensive performance will be important because against Manchester United and Chelsea we were 2-0 down after 20 minutes and that is massive in games. So let's keep our defensive discipline we had against Liverpool and I am sure we can score when we play."
There have been suggestions that Porto represented an ‘easy draw' for Arsenal in the first knock-out round. The Gunners could have been pitted against Bayern Munich, AC Milan or Inter Milan, but Wenger will not underestimate Wednesday night's opponents, who won the Champions League in 2004.
"Porto is a tough draw," he said. "They don't look like a prestigious team but every year they are in there and they can surprise people. They have been playing very well recently."