Arsène Wenger said Arsenal FC want their experience to count as his injury-hit but seasoned team welcome newcomers SC Braga to London in Group H on Wednesday.
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Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger believes experience will be the key as his injury-hit but seasoned UEFA Champions League campaigners welcome newcomers SC Braga in Group H on Wednesday.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
Confidence is high. We have to show we can focus every three or four days and keep our rhythm going. We know we can score goals, I believe we have showed that recently so let's keep doing that. We have a tricky game tomorrow because we are favourites. Braga are outsiders that are dangerous, especially on the counterattack and on long-range shots.
We want to exploit their inexperience. We are used to the competition. People expect us to go through because we have gone through the group stage for ten consecutive seasons. Of course we want to go through and deal with the fact that in many games in the Champions League we are favourites. Braga have a strong Brazilian influence. They are physically strong and well organised and they make the transition very quickly from defence to attack. What impresses me is that we played Porto last year and they finished ahead of Porto and in the qualifiers they knocked Sevilla out. That helps us to be on our toes.
Domingos Paciência, Braga coach
Because of their technical ability, Arsenal are not like other teams in England. They're a pleasure to watch, just like it is to watch Barcelona. There's a big gulf between the two teams. They're used to playing in this competition, whereas this is our first time in the group stage. The normal thing would be for Braga to lose but hopefully tomorrow we'll get praise for achieving something historic. That's what we're working for and why we're going to give our best. We have to believe we can score at any moment.
Midfielder Abou Diaby is out with an ankle problem, defender Thomas Vermaelen is also missing due to an Achilles injury suffered on Belgium duty. Winger Theo Walcott is sidelined for six weeks following an ankle sprain while strikers Robin van Persie (ankle), Nicklas Bendtner (groin) and midfielders Aaron Ramsey (leg) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) are also out. Samir Nasri is available after knee surgery.
Goalkeeper Quim is out until the new year after rupturing his Achilles in pre-season training.
11/09/10 Arsenal 4-1 Bolton Wanderers FC
(Koscielny 24, Chamakh 58, Song 78, Vela 83; Elmander 44
Arsenal remain within two points of leaders Chelsea FC after a win in which Laurent Koscielny opened his Gunners account. Sébastien Squillaci made his debut in place of the injured Vermaelen, while there was a first appearance of the season for Kieran Gibbs.
11/09/10 FC Porto 3-2 Braga
(Varela 33 70, Hulk 63; Aguiar 16, Lima 61)
Braga suffered their first Liga defeat since a 1-0 loss to last season's eventual champions SL Benfica on 27 March. Scorer of a hat-trick against Sevilla FC in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Lima's goal was his first in the Liga for Braga.
Did you know?
When, in 1921, Braga changed their team shirts from two large green and white vertical stripes, they took Arsenal's red-and-white colours as their inspiration. Since then they have been known as Minho's Arsenalistas (Arsenal from Minho).
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