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Nedved return gives Juventus hope
April 04, 2006 10:18 IST
Italian champions Juventus are hoping that the return of Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved can inspire a comeback victory over Arsenal in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final, second leg tie at the Delle Alpi stadium.
Nedved was suspended for the 2-0 first-leg defeat by the English side, but is available for the return and promises Juventus are ready for a real battle.
"Juve are a team that fight until the end and as long as it is mathematically possible we will believe we can do it," said Nedved, the 2003 European Footballer of the Year.
"Arsenal will have to sweat. The only thing that is sure is that we can't make any mistakes. I was suspended for the first game but I am ready for the return match.
"I can't say what I will add to the team but certainly I will give everything I have and hope that is enough."
Although Nedved returns to the left of midfield Juve coach Fabio Capello's choices are limited by suspensions.
Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, Argentine-born winger Mauro Camoranesi and French full-back Jonathan Zebina are all suspended.
Romanian Adrian Mutu is likely to replace Camoranesi on the right, ex-Lazio midfielder Giuliano Giannichedda will slot into Vieira's central midfield role and Giorgio Chiellini will come in at left back with Gianluca Zambrotta moving to the right.
Up front Capello is likely to stick with the out-of-sorts Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic alongside Frenchman David Trezeguet, although the Juve coach hopes that Alessandro Del Piero, who sat out the first leg with a thigh injury, will be fit enough to at least start on the bench.
Arsenal received a major boost on Monday when 18-year-old Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas and Ivory Coast defender Emmanuel Eboue were both declared fit enough to travel after picking up foot and groin injuries respectively in Saturday's 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa.
Both were rated 60-40 against recovering in time by manager Arsene Wenger after the Villa game.
Fabregas was outstanding against Juve at Highbury -- scoring one goal, making the other for Thierry Henry and providing many of the passes behind Arsenal's attacking game.
Experience will really count in Turin and if Fredrik Ljungberg has recovered from a calf injury, manager Arsene Wenger may put the Swede back in the side as part of a five-man midfield.
Doubts over Eboue's fitness at right back could mean a re-shuffle, with fit-again Sol Campbell returning in central defence and Philippe Senderos moving sideways.
Campbell has not played since walking out of Highbury at halftime against West Ham United on February 1.
Swiss defender Johan Djourou, who replaced Eboue against Villa, is another alternative as Arsenal look for an eighth consecutive clean sheet in the Champions League and a place in the semi-finals for the first time.
Henry, who scored two superb goals in the Villa rout, will again be a lone striker.
Though Arsenal are unlikely to sit back, they will certainly look to use the pace of the prolific Frenchman and Spanish winger Jose Antonio Reyes to hit Juve on the break and score what would probably be a decisive away goal.
Juventus: 1-Gianluigi Buffon; 19-Gianluca Zambrotta, 21-Lilian Thuram, 28-Fabio Cannavaro, 3-Giorgio Chiellini; 18-Adrian Mutu, 23-Giuliano Giannichedda, 8-Emerson, 11-Pavel Nedved; 9-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 17-David Trezeguet.
Arsenal: 1-Jens Lehmann; 27-Emmanuel Eboue or 36-Johan Djourou, 28-Kolo Toure, 20-Philippe Senderos, 16-Matthieu Flamini; 7-Robert Pires, 15-Francesc Fabregas, 13-Alexandr Hleb, 19-Gilberto, 9-Jose Antonio Reyes; 14-Thierry Henry
Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)
UEFA Champions League 2005-06: The Complete Coverage