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    Gunners confident in class of 2009

    29.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    MANCHESTER - Kolo Toure believes the youthful current crop of Arsenal stars can emulate the battle-hardened class of 2006 and book the ticket to this season's Champions League final.

    The Gunners face Manchester United in the first leg of their semifinal at Old Trafford tonight with Toure the only survivor from the 'Invincibles' squad that went through the 2003-04 Premier League campaign unbeaten.

    That squad, constructed around the French trio of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires, broke up after the 2006 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona but Toure believes the north London club is once again on the verge of something special. "True we lost Thierry Henry, but Emmanuel Adebayor is playing really well; we lost Robert Pires, but we have Samir Nasri," the Ivory Coast defender said.

    "All those players have been replaced. The good thing about this team is we have a lot of young players who want to show they have the quality. I remember that a team like Ajax - nobody was expecting them to win, but they won (in 1995) and had a really young team as well."

    Arsenal will miss the creative edge provided by top-scorer Robin van Persie, who is ruled out by a groin injury, and cup-tied Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin. But the Gunners will take heart from the fact that they have already beaten United this season (2-1 at the Emirates in November) and by the current form of captain Cesc Fabregas, who has been revelling in the role of a deep-lying forward akin to that in which Steven Gerrard has thrived at Liverpool this season.

    The brace Fabregas claimed against Middlesbrough on Sunday were his first goals since October and Toure is confident the Spaniard's guile, combined with the presence of Adebayor and the pace of Theo Walcott, will pose United problems. The key, he believes, will be matching Manchester's offensive contribution with equal vigor in defence.

    "We know when we play football against Manchester United, they struggle a lot," Arsenal’s Toure argued. "They're are a really good team going forward, but, like us, at the back they have conceded a few goals. The team that will win will be the one which defends the best."


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