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Rediff.com  » Sports » Van Persie passed fit for confident Arsenal

Van Persie passed fit for confident Arsenal

May 05, 2009 10:47 IST

Striker Robin van Persie has recovered from a groin strain and returns to Arsenal's squad for the Champions League semi-final second leg against holders Manchester United on Tuesday, manager Arsene Wenger said.

The Dutch international, Arsenal's leading scorer this season, has been out since April 18 and is likely to rejoin Togo target man Emmanuel Adebayor up front as the Londoners bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit at their Emirates stadium.

"He is available and he is in the squad," Wenger told reporters on Monday. "He is one of those players who gives me an opportunity to make a (selection) decision, but we are very conscious that it is all about our team performance tomorrow."

Former United defender Mikael Silvestre was also included in Arsenal's squad but faces a late test on a groin problem.

"Everybody is very focussed and we are ready for the game," the Frenchman said. "It is important to have everyone available and in the squad for this kind of game."

Wenger rested eight of those who played in the first leg for Saturday's 3-0 win at Portsmouth and said that decision had given him a refreshed group.

"I am confident that the team will produce a magnificent team performance and that we will manage it. We play at home and we have a strong record in the Champions League. I know that, for many, we are the outsiders, but personally I believe we will do it."

Arsenal are unbeaten at home in the Champions League in 24 matches stretching back to a defeat by Chelsea in April 2004. United have not lost away in the competition in 11 outings since losing at AC Milan in May 2007.

Wenger said United were stronger and sharper in attack in the first leg, but said this was partly due to their longer preparation time. "This time will be different and I think it will be on our side," he said.

Asked how he rated his team's chances of winning, he added: "We will make it, no matter what happens. So, I am not interested in our chances. We have to make it and we are focussed on that. It is a game we have to go out and enjoy, to play the football we love and want to play so let's go out and do that and let (other) people talk while we do the job."

Timothy Collings
Source:
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