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Edu eager for Chelsea challenge

Published: Tuesday 6 April 2004, 13.55CET
Edu is confident Arsenal FC will be too strong for Chelsea FC when their quarter-final concludes tonight.
Published: Tuesday 6 April 2004, 13.55CET

Edu eager for Chelsea challenge

Edu is confident Arsenal FC will be too strong for Chelsea FC when their quarter-final concludes tonight.

Arsenal FC's dreams of a remarkable treble may have ended with Saturday's 1-0 loss against Manchester United FC in the FA Cup semi-finals, but Arsène Wenger's side are still chasing glory on two fronts and Edu will be a key figure as the season comes to the boil.

Chelsea challenge
With the Londoners still in control of their own fate in the Premiership, the Brazilian midfield player is confident Arsenal can shrug off their FA Cup disappointment against Chelsea FC in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg tonight.

'Positive result'
With the tie level at 1-1 after the first match at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago, Edu is convinced the scales are tilted in Arsenal's favour. "That was a very important result for us, even though we always play to win," he said. "It was a positive result and that away goal could prove crucial in terms of the second leg and our chances of reaching the next round."

Chelsea closing in
Arsenal's opponents at Highbury took advantage of the Gunners' league inactivity on Saturday to cut their lead in the standings to four points, and Edu acknowledged that overcoming Chelsea will be no easy task. "It will be difficult for both teams," he said. "We know what a good team they are and what great players they have. They can certainly get a result against us.

All to play for
"We can't take anything for granted and the game could be decided with a single mistake. We got a draw and an away goal in the first leg, and that was good but we know a single goal for them can change things around completely. But we will be ready."

Dynamic displays
Edu, 25, has forced his way into the team with some dynamic displays this season, and has been a significant factor in the side's success so far. However, he is modest about his own achievements and quick to direct the credit elsewhere. "For me, Patrick Vieira is the best central midfield player in the world," he said of his midfield partner. "It's a true pleasure and honour to play with him."

Wenger lauded
Edu is equally effusive in his praise for his manager. "Arsène Wenger always believed in me and I am trying to pay him back by doing well now," he said. "He was the key man for me when I arrived here. In good times you become surrounded by many people but he was always there from the very first minute.

Faith rewarded
"He came under fire when he bought an unknown player like me for €9m and I wasn't playing well during the first months here. But he always stood by his decision to bring me here no matter what the press said. He is always open to everybody at the club and he is the main reason for where we are now. He has made massive changes to the way Arsenal play, and has been showing for a number of years that he is a great manager and a great man."

Trophy target
Now Edu is certain of the ideal way to repay his manager's faith and achieve one of his own long-standing ambitions in the process, saying: "I dream about playing in the final of the Champions League. Looking at the team we have and all the quality on the pitch and our attitude, I think that dream could become soon a reality. I want to win the trophy with Arsenal."

Last updated: 06/04/04 17.25CET

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