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afc Porto no tall order but concerns linger over defenders' high anxieties.

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Despite Arsenal\'s streamlined football continuing to excite, their defensive frailties were all too apparent against Porto.Toure460.jpgKolo Toure has struggled this season and appears to be a shadow of his former self. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal\'s ultimately untroubled cuffing-aside of Porto at the Emirates Stadium confirmed that this is a wonderfully fluent attacking team. Despite four goals and a clean sheet, it also failed to completely remove the lingering concerns about what happens at the other end of the pitch. Before the game Arsène Wenger had spoken about the need for his young team to grow. In the case of Kolo Toure and William Gallas the concerns are less about adolescent mental frailty than the matter of feet and inches.Arsenal have conceded three goals this season from set pieces. An imperfection at the heart of the defence, principally the absence of a central defender whose first thought is to attack the aerial ball, has been noted. With Mikaël Silvestre back from injury and Johan Djourou also on the bench here, Wenger\'s first choice central defensive pair of the last two years have been feeling a little unaccustomed heat.Porto were hardly the team to capitalise on this perceived weakness. Like their hosts they have a reputation for deft offensive football that relies more on short passing than the aerial tussle. True to form in the early stages Porto\'s Argentinean centre forward Lisandro and his partner Cristian Rodríguez, playing deeper on the left, provided a more welcome test of speed of foot and quickness on the turn. Still, and despite Arsenal\'s growing dominance, there were signs of the kind of aerial incompetence exploited most recently by Hull\'s Daniel Cousin here on Saturday.Porto\'s first cross arrived in the 14th minute and again Arsenal\'s centre looked porous. Tomás Costa\'s ball from the right evaded Toure: Rodríguez\'s header into the ground bounced up and clipped the bar. Four minutes later Porto won their first corner: again the ball whistled through the six-yard box, before arriving back at Lisandro\'s feet. His shot was kicked off the line by Clichy. Shortly afterwards Wenger appeared on the touchline looking concerned for the only time of the night.Of the two home centre halves Gallas looked more secure in the air and sharper to the ball too. Toure seems to have lost some speed, and despite Arsenal\'s dominance the feeling persisted in the first half that the back door was hardly bolted shut. Towards half time another Porto corner caused some confusion in the Arsenal box, with Toure appearing disturbed by the presence of Lisandro on the six-yard line. After which Porto effectively disappeared as an attacking force. Pre-match there had been much excitement about the prospect of the Brazilian forward Hulk stomping about the Emirates.A bicep-rippling Brazilian forward with a liking for the physical seemed just the thing to apply a little pressure, Premier League-style, to the centre of Arsenal\'s defence. He duly appeared to a rapturous reception - complete with monstrous Hulk gestures from the home fans. The euphoria didn\'t last long. The dictionary defines the word \"hulk\" as meaning \"a person or object, that is bulky, clumsy, or unwieldy\". Which seemed about right in this case. Hulk\'s first act was to slalom in from the halfway line and perform a fairly limp dive at Toure\'s feet.It was half an hour into the second half before Porto managed another cross into the home penalty area, by which time Gallas and Toure had been effectively reduced to appreciative spectators. A week ago Arsenal thrashed Sheffield United 6-0, before conceding a 1-0 lead to Hull five days later. Tonight showed that their firepower remains undiminished. Yet, in glimpses, there was evidence of that persistent defensive weakness too. The trip to Sunderland this weekend will surely provide rather more of a test than an overwhelmed, out-passed and ultimately discouraged Porto were able to muster.

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