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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 31 October 2005  - 12:00

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, the big one...

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, the big one...

THE KEY news for Arsenal is the return of Thierry Henry - although there has been some suggestion of him being a doubt. We have to go into the game positively anyway because it’s a home match and we’re in good form but if it was a question of if we wanted Henry to play or not then we certainly wouldn’t, because he’s an absolutely top-class striker. Obviously, at this point, we're not sure whether he'll play or not.

He has been been involved in their last two games though and on the winning side on both occasions, scoring a world-class goal in the Champions League.

They’ve had to make a few changes over the last few weeks. At the back, Sol Campbell’s had spells out and Ashley Cole, who for me is the best left-back in the world at the moment, is missing and that’s a big loss for them.

They have the quality of Dennis Bergkamp but they’ve had to make changes in midfield this season.

Fabregas is a player that I certainly admire and has come on for them

We don’t know whether or not Freddie Ljungberg will be fit, that’s another big one as well and I’m sure they will want to get back as many of their regulars as soon as possible, but as I said, Henry is the big one for them at the moment.

You have to be aware of the qualities they’ve got, especially Henry’s pace and if you play too open they are such a good side of exploiting it because of the pace available.

We are also aware that sometimes they can play an open game and in that case, we have to use what we’ve got in our armoury to score goals against them.

I think it will be an entertaining game - there aren’t too many games with Arsenal that aren’t. We have to restrict their opportunities but we have to be forceful as well. We have the home advantage, the crowd have been great and we have to use all that to push us on to get a result.

If I look at our league position, we always say that the table doesn’t lie and we deserve to be where we are. What we can’t afford to do is get carried away because we’ve got big games coming up and there is an awful long way to go but at this moment, we deserve to be where we are and that alone means we’re in a good position to take on Arsenal on Saturday.