Mikel Arteta was among those who felt defeat as a player at this stage for five seasons from 2011-17: now the Champions League last eight is in sight again

Arsenal know, in trading London’s grey skies for the pastel blue of northern Portugal, that they face a challenge coloured in markedly different shades. It has been a long way back to the Champions League last 16 for a club that sat out of European competition two seasons ago so, on the one hand, a meeting with Porto calls for humility. Arsenal have not passed this point since 2010 and breaking that barren run would present another staging post in Mikel Arteta’s ride back towards the top.

From another perspective, it is an occasion that screams of opportunity. Estádio do Dragão is never a venue to take lightly and Arsenal have discovered that before, most recently losing 2-1 before Nicklas Bendtner’s hat-trick in the second leg helped them to that quarter-final spot 14 years ago. But reality shows that the draw could have handed them sterner tests than an embattled Porto who sit a barely acceptable seven points adrift of second place in the Primeira Liga. It is a chance to cast off historical baggage before surveying a field that, by the standards of this competition, looks abnormally weak.

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