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‘Brave manager, brave team’

‘Brave manager, brave team’

“Exceptional” Arsenal have what it takes to win the UEFA Champions League this season, says TNT Sports expert Owen Hargreaves, while Rio Ferdinand believes even Manchester City would want to avoid the Gunners if they both progress.

Mikel Arteta’s side have been in flying form of late and sit third in the Premier League table, two points behind leaders Liverpool.

However, they will have to overturn a 1-0 first leg defeat when they face Porto in the return leg of their last 16 tie on March 12, live on TNT Sports and discovery+.

Despite that, former England midfielder Hargreaves thinks the north London club could yet lift European football’s most coveted trophy for the first time.

“This Arsenal team are exceptional right now. They’ve got a brave manager, a brave team and if they go for it, I believe they can win the Champions League,” said Hargreaves.

“But experience is a big thing and it showed in that first leg.”

When it was put to him that Arsenal are the bookies’ third favourites to win the tournament, Hargreaves said: “I think that’s right – City obviously, Real Madrid, and Arsenal are right there.”

Arsenal suffered defeat in Portugal through a 94th-minute winner from Wenderson Galeno and Hargreaves believes the way the strike was conceded highlighted their lack of experience at the top level.

“With young teams you never really know. This was a big test. [Gabriel] Martinelli didn’t need to play that ball, just keep it, then they all retreat. That’s the sign of a young team,” he said.

“Someone has to get up to the ball. There are only three attackers and seven defenders. Get to the ball, maybe a tiny bit of inexperience.”

Ferdinand, a Champions League winner with Manchester United during his playing days, believes that nobody will want to see Arsenal’s name come out of the hat against them if they make it to the quarter-finals.

“If they go through, which I think they will against Porto, I don’t think there is any team that really wants them. Even Man City, they won’t want them,” Ferdinand said.

“There are easier tests out there than Arsenal. Arsenal are a definite threat for any team in this tournament.”

TNT Sports presents the premium live sports rights previously carried by BT Sport including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Conference League, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Investec Champions Cup, EPCR Challenge Cup, MotoGP, Cricket, UFC, Boxing and WWE. The streaming home for TNT Sports in the UK is discovery+, where fans can enjoy a subscription that includes TNT Sports, Eurosport and entertainment in one destination. You can also watch TNT Sports through BT, EE, Sky, and Virgin Media

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