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Wenger calls on Arsenal to take decisive step

With Cesc Fàbregas poised to return from injury, Arsène Wenger has set his sights on a third straight win for Arsenal FC against fellow Group H pacesetters FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Wenger calls on Arsenal to take decisive step
Wenger calls on Arsenal to take decisive step ©UEFA.com

Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger sees Tuesday's visit of FC Shakhtar Donetsk as a chance to "basically qualify" and is boosted by the return of captain Cesc Fàbregas from injury. Like Arsenal, Shakhtar have started UEFA Champions League Group H with two wins, and coach Mircea Lucescu stressed his side "are here to get a result".

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
Fàbregas is available. He had a little setback [hamstring] but he's got over that hurdle and is ready to play. It's a key game because it gives us an opportunity to basically qualify. In the group so far 12 points have been won; six have gone to Shakhtar and six to Arsenal. That means what is at stake is qualifying and first place in the group.

I will be happy and sad to see Eduardo; happy because he is fantastic boy with a fantastic mentality, and sad because I worked very hard to get him here but he left with the feeling that he could not fulfil the promise he showed in his first season. That was basically down to the fact he was injured for a long time and that somebody had moved in front of him. He had the class of an Arsenal player. Shakhtar are on a good winning run, are dominating their league and have just won 3-0 away at Braga. We have to be on our toes so only a great performance will win us the game.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
We have two games, one here and another in two weeks. We know they're very powerful at home but can have difficulties away. Shakhtar are also a very good team and we are here to get a result. I've known Wenger for about 30 years. Since he was coaching [AS Nancy-Lorraine]we've remained in contact. I know very well what he thinks about football and we have similar ideas.

I hope it will be a very good match. They will control the game for sure, it's normal because they're at home and they have many creative players. We have to be organised and cause them difficulties on the counterattack. It's difficult to say we're here to play an attacking game because it depends on Arsenal, what with them being at home, but we can create big problems for them. It is bound to be emotional for [Eduardo]. He wanted to remain and play at Arsenal so much but his injury created problems for him; now Shakhtar are helping him reach the highest level.

Team news
Laurent Koscielny missed Saturday's defeat of Birmingham City FC with a back injury and has joined Robin van Persie (ankle), Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), Bacary Sagna (thigh), Aaron Ramsey (broken leg) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) on the sidelines. Fàbregas is available after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Nicklas Bendtner made his first appearance of the season on Saturday following a groin problem. Theo Walcott is also over an ankle problem while Manuel Almunia (elbow) and Kieran Gibbs (calf) are close to recovery.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy (hamstring) and Yaroslav Rakitskiy (knee) recovered from injuries to start against FC Metalurh Donetsk on Friday. Douglas Costa (quadriceps) has been included in the squad, but Fernandinho is expected to miss the group stage after breaking his right leg.

Weekend results
16/10/10 Arsenal 2-1 Birmingham City FC
(Nasri 41pen, Chamakh 47; Zigić 33)
Arsenal marked Wenger's 800th match in charge with their 1,700th top-flight win – their 466th under the Frenchman. The result was marred by Jack Wilshere's red card in added time. Marouane Chamakh has scored in four of his five home games for Arsenal.

15/10/10 FC Metalurh Donetsk 0-2 Shakhtar
(Chygrynskiy 9, Teixeira 18)
Chygrynskiy returned to action for the first time since pulling his hamstring on 29 August and scored the opening goal. Shakhtar have won their last seven matches and 15 of their 17 games this term.

Did you know?
The sides met in the 2000/01 first group stage, Shakhtar taking a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes of the first game at Highbury. After substitute Sylvain Wiltord halved the deficit from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, two goals from Martin Keown inside the last five minutes swung the result in favour of the home team.

For more information see the match background.