Braga vs Arsenal preview - Rodriguez looks to pile misery on Gunners

I have a say

Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by PA

Braga defender Alberto Rodriguez wants to add to Arsenal's woes on the back of their North London derby defeat to rivals Tottenham by beating them in the Champions League.

Arsenal squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Tottenham on Saturday, and now Rodriguez is taking aim at the Gunners as Braga bid to show they are not as bad as their 6-0 defeat to Arsenal in September suggested.

"The team spirit is good," Rodriguez said. "We are thinking only about Tuesday's match and are ready to win.

"We are better than we were in the first match against Arsenal. Nobody in the team expected that result. Now we think in a different way because we know we have to win if we want to continue in the Champions League."

Braga are three points adrift of Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk, who take on pointless Partizan Belgrade in a match they should win.

That means Braga will be fighting for their lives, a dangerous prospect for Arsenal - and manager Arsene Wenger is certainly not assuming his side can simply show up and enjoy another rout as they did two months ago.

"A game away from home in the Champions League is a more different game than at home," he said.

"Braga have a good side that in the first 20 minutes of the home game impressed me.

"With what happened to us against Spurs everyone will be focused and want to perform at our best. We know we have an opportunity to qualify and people expect us also to bounce back."

Arsenal will rest Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin for the match, while defender Gael Clichy also misses out because of a back problem.

England left-back Kieran Gibbs looks set to start, while Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner returns to contention after his groin problems.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (elbow), centre-half Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) and midfielder Abou Diaby (ankle) remain out, while Aaron Ramsey continues his rehabilitation following a broken leg.

Wenger revealed he is carefully managing the health of Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas, but the Arsenal captain is expected to play.

"It is getting better," Wenger said of Fabregas' hamstring injury.

"He was out for a while and had a recurrence of his hamstring problem, then it gets in your head. When it gets in your head, it is difficult to play free of your mind.

"I feel it is getting better in every match, from game to game he becomes stronger.

"On Saturday against Tottenham, he has created three great goal chances, so we are getting back to the normal Cesc."

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