Van Persie In Arsenal's Squad To Face Barcelona


Robin van Persie has been added to the Arsenal squad for their Champions League  clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou Tuesday, the London club announced on its website today.

The Dutch forward was substituted during the Carling Cup Final on February 27  after suffering a knee injury. But he trained with his team-mates at London  Colney on Monday and has travelled to Spain. His inclusion is seen as a big  surprise and signalled that Manager Arsene Wenger wants to throw in all his  cards in the game.

Arsenal Captain, Cesc Fabregas, is also in the squad. Earlier today, manager Arsene Wenger had  certified him 90 per cent fit to play in the crucial second leg tomorrow.

Arsenal leads the Spanish champion by a slim margin of 2-1.

The manager ahead of the match has hinted of a change in tactics, according to  Arsenal web site. The Gunners are renowned for their free-flowing, expansive play in the Premier League but their manager knows that pragmatism, not idealism, is the key to their success this time around.

“We will have to [play another way] because it’s one of the few games where we  will spend 60 per cent of the time defending,” said Wenger.

“We have to fight against the pre-conceived ideas because the only way of  thinking is that Arsenal cannot defend. I will just remind you that in the last seven games we have seven clean sheets in the Premier League, we have conceded less goals than Man United who have a very good defence.

“We prefer to attack that is for sure, but we can defend when we have to.”

Nicklas Bendtner gave Arsenal a shock lead at the Nou Camp last year before  Messi took over and Wenger thinks his players can learn lessons from that  encounter.

“We can learn and I would like to have the same start as last year because I  feel defensively we can cope better with their pressure,” he said. “That is what  we want to show. The second leg last year was the Lionel Messi show, you can  never bet on a poor performance from Messi. That’s certainly one of the keys of  the game.

“Of course we would take [a 0-0 draw],” he added. “But it is a little bit of an illusion to go to Barcelona and think they will not score at all. So you have to think we want to score at least a goal.

Arsène Wenger’s 19-man squad  will be cut to 18 ahead of  Tuesday’s game at the Nou Camp.

Arsenal squad:
Manuel Almunia
Wojciech Szczesny
Johan Djourou
Gael Clichy
Emmanuel Eboue
Kieran Gibbs
Laurent Koscielny
Bacary Sagna
Sebastien Squillaci
Cesc Fabregas
Andrey Arshavin
Jack Wilshere
Tomas Rosicky
Samir Nasri
Abou Diaby
Nicklas Bendtner
Marouane Chamakh
Robin van Persie

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