Van Persie Named in Squad to Face Barcelona
Dutch striker Robin van Persie has been named as a surprise addition to the Arsenal squad set to face Spanish champions Barcelona in the Nou Camp tonight, despite the player having been ruled out of the clash less than 10 days ago.
The Gunners go into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League knock-out clash with Barca holding a slender 2-1 advantage, but the news that their most potent attacking force may feature in the game will come as a welcome boost.
Van Persie suffered a knee ligament injury in the Gunners 2-1 Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham, with manager Arsene Wenger originally declaring that the forward would be out for three to four weeks in order to recover fully.
However, Van Persie has been named in the 19 man squad that will travel to the Spanish coast today, though Wenger insists that he will not take a gamble on the striker’s fitness unless he feels the Dutchman is definitely ready to play.
Van Persie will join other key players like captain Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere in the Arsenal squad, but defensive midfielder Alex Song will not make the trip and Wenger is expected to play either Denilson or Abou Diaby in his place.
Barcelona for their part have a largely fit squad, though veteran defender Carles Puyol remains sidelined and Gerard Pique will also miss the game due to suspension, so Eric Abidal and Sergio Busquets - a midfielder – are likely to deputise in defence.