Van Persie back for Gunners

Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 by PA

Striker Robin van Persie is set to return for Arsenal following a knee problem when they host Wigan.

But Russian midfielder Andrey Arshavin (groin) remains sidelined and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is still troubled by the chest infection which ruled him out of Wednesday night's win at Standard Liege, so rookie Vito Mannone will continue.

Denilson (back), Theo Walcott (back), Samir Nasri (leg), Lukasz Fabianski (knee), Johan Djourou (knee) and Carlos Vela (ankle) remain out.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Midfielder Olivier Kapo, who injured knee ligaments in pre-season, played in midweek for the reserves and could come into contention but is probably still a few days short of match fitness. However, after last weekend's victory over West Ham the best he can hope for is a place on the bench.

Arsenal head into the clash on the back of their morale-boosting midweek Champions League win, when they had trailed 2-0 after only five minutes.

Following two disappointing defeats by Manchester United and then City, not to mention the background of Eduardo's rescinded diving ban, Wenger feels his young side have again displayed their growing character.

"Even at Manchester United and Manchester City we have shown quality games," Wenger reflected.

"We were not rewarded, but if we keep going I am confident our strength will come out in every single game."

Wenger added: "It is very important for us to be strong at the Emirates.

"We have played four games, but three have been away in three difficult places for everybody else.

"The Emirates will be the decider for us as to how strong we fight for the championship."

It was in the game against Wigan last season when some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowded turned on Emmanuel Eboue, who was taken off after coming on as a substitute.

Wenger feels the Ivory Coast international has come a long way since then, along with the Gunners home support.

"I think we have changed the atmosphere at the Emirates now through our quality in our games and Eboue has done exactly the same," said Wenger.

"It is always down to your attitude as a player to change the fans' mind.

"They are always ready to do that if you show quality performances, you get the fans supporting you again."

Wigan chief Martinez intends to take the game to Arsenal and has no plans to hang on for a draw.

"We will go there and play the way we have to play and if we can do that for 90 minutes I will be pleased," he said.

"I'm sure we can get many good things out of it."




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