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Arsenal face anxious wait

Published: Wednesday 20 March 2002, 16.00CET
Arsenal FC need a sterling away performance in Turin if they are to reach the last eight.
Published: Wednesday 20 March 2002, 16.00CET

Arsenal face anxious wait

Arsenal FC need a sterling away performance in Turin if they are to reach the last eight.

In the FA Premiership Arsenal FC's away form has been a revelation this season and they will need a sterling performance on foreign soil tonight if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for a second successive season.

Out of their hands
Yet even if Arsenal were to win at the Delle Alpi stadium at the expense of Juventus FC that might not be enough if Bayer 04 Leverkusen were to do likewise in their game away to Deportivo La Coruña. Otherwise Arsenal have to match the German team's result (i.e. both draw or both lose) to follow Deportivo out of Group D in second place.

Juve stung 
Arsenal must look to win but that will be far from easy with Juventus, stung by last week's elimination from the competition, looking to add to their impressive home record in the Champions League in which they have won four and drawn one of their five games.

Fond memories
The Gunners, by contrast, have lost eight of their last ten Champions League away games and have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 14. However they have fond memories of the stadium, becoming the first English team to win there on the way to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in 1979/1980. Their six subsequent visits to Italy have produced four draws and two defeats.

Treble chase
Arsenal restored some confidence on Sunday after the disappointment of their 2-0 home defeat to Deportivo on Matchday 11 - a loss which broke an unbeaten run of 18 games. The boost came in the 2-1 win at Aston Villa FC on Sunday, a result, achieved through goals by Edu and Robert Pires, that keeps Arsène Wenger's side well in the hunt for the Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup treble.

Scoring record
It meant that the Gunners had scored in 31 consecutive games in the top division, equalling a club record set in 1930. Just as important was a second-half penalty save by in-form David Seaman, which helped ensure Arsenal reclaimed second place, a point behind Manchester United FC and one ahead of Liverpool FC.

Injury list
The victory, Arsenal's eleventh in 16 games away from home in the Premiership - the other five have all been drawn - came without the suspended Thierry Henry, while Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour, Matthew Upson and Francis Jeffers were all missing through injury.

'We can still do it'
Wenger reflected afterwards on whether his team have the character and belief to win the treble. "We will try and we can still do it," he said. "We are in three competitions towards the end of March so why should we not believe we can do it? This team has a magnificent character and a great spirit which gets us through. We showed this again at Villa Park. To play well was not enough, we also had to battle up to the last minute."

Adams in the frame
Dennis Bergkamp will miss the Turin game because of his aversion to flying. Parlour continues to miss out with an ankle problem while Igors Stepanovs sustained a groin injury against Aston Villa that could bring a return for club captain Tony Adams, who has played only once since breaking a bone in his foot last September.

Players return
Juventus also maintained their title challenge with a 1-0 home win against Hellas-Verona FC on Sunday. Their 50th goal of the Serie A campaign was scored by Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved. Marcello Lippi now has Edgar Davids and Mark Iuliano available again after suspensions but Ciro Ferrara, who made his 200th appearance for the club at the weekend, has a one-match ban. Lilian Thuram again misses out through injury.

Focus elsewhere
With Juventus now out of the race for the Champions League quarter-finals their focus is on the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia final against Parma AC on 11 May. In the league they trail joint leaders Internazionale FC and AS Roma by a single point.

Last updated: 16/11/12 7.35CET

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