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Arsenal return to winning ways

Published: Sunday 5 March 2006, 22.00CET
Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF both responded to previous league defeats with victory at the weekend ahead of their meeting at Highbury on Wednesday.

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Published: Sunday 5 March 2006, 22.00CET

Arsenal return to winning ways

Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF both responded to previous league defeats with victory at the weekend ahead of their meeting at Highbury on Wednesday.

Arsenal FC and Real Madrid CF will go into the second leg of their tie at Highbury in similiar form having both recorded weekend victories after suffering league defeats in their previous matches.

Fulham FC 0-4 Arsenal FC
Arsenal prepared for Madrid's visit to Highbury with an emphatic victory against Fulham on Saturday. Thierry Henry gave the visitors the lead on 31 minutes before Emmanuel Adebayor continued the bright start to his Arsenal career with a second goal four minutes later. Frenchman Henry then got Arsenal's third - his 17th goal of the season - with 13 minutes to go before Cesc Fabregas rounded off the win four minutes from time. The win, which followed a 1-0 defeat away by Blackburn Rovers FC on 25 February, moved the Highbury outfit into fifth in the Premiership table.

The win against Fulham was Arsenal's first for three league matches and manager Arsène Wenger said: "I feel the team is developing well and we will gain some confidence but we need to be consistent. We have shown a lot of mental strength recently and that is very encouraging. Thierry Henry was immense but I think the whole team played very well." Wenger currently has injury problems with English international defenders Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell (both ankle) both still injured although Robin van Persie (toe) and Pascal Cygan (hamstring) could feature against Madrid. Meanwhile, forward Dennis Bergkamp and midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg both returned at the weekend.

Real Madrid CF 2-1 Club Atlético de Madrid
Madrid have endured a troubled time since their 1-0 first-leg defeat against Arsenal, following up that result with a 2-1 away loss against RCD Mallorca on 26 February despite taking the lead through Sergio Ramos. There was more upheaval at the Santiago Bernabéu when president Florentino Pérez stepped down and Fernando Martín was named as his successor. Madrid's next test was a home derby against Atlético on Saturday and the club reacted in the best way possible with a 2-1 win. With Ronaldo surprisingly left out, Antonio Cassano, in his first league start since signing in January, scored in the third minute. Although the visitors equalised, Julio Baptista scored what proved to be the winner five minutes before half-time. Madrid, however, remained ten points behind Primera División leaders FC Barcelona.

Coach Juan Ramón López Caro was nevertheless pleased with the win, saying: "It was a relief after last week's defeat and I think we responded like professionals should. Our supporters were probably even more important than the players in helping us today. They give us a lift when things aren't going well and I thank them for that". The Madrid coach has both Baptista and Guti available again after calf injuries, although Pablo García (knee), Jonathan Woodgate (calf) and Óscar Miñambres (knee) were all absent against Atlético.

Last updated: 05/03/06 23.14CET

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